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Curtain Rises: ‘Annie’ live on Civic Theatre stage

Civic Theatre of Allentown opens its 2021-’22 season with the heart-warming musical “Annie,” Sept. 24 - Oct. 10 on-stage at the Nineteenth Street Theatre.

The hit musical with its themes of hope and resilience is the perfect season-opener for Civic after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdown challenges of the past 18 months, says Civic Theatre of Allentown Artistic Director William Sanders, who is directing the show.

“What could be a better time for an eternal optimist?” Sanders asks.

“This classic audience favorite will truly fill us with hope for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

“This show is a snapshot of a time in our history where we overcame so much and learned that as Roosevelt said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’”

“Annie” boasts one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, lots of adorable children, splashy dance numbers, a funny script and even a dog on stage in Annie’s pet Sandy.

“Annie” was inspired by the Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which first ran in the New York News in 1924.

With music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan, the musical follows the rags-to-riches story of plucky young Annie, from a hard-knock New York orphanage to the luxurious home of billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks.

The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years, setting a record for the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre), and receiving seven Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical.

The show spawned a national United States tour and numerous productions around the world.

The musical features memorable songs, including “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” “Easy Street,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and, of course, the iconic “Tomorrow.”

For the Civic production, Brian Foley is music director and Deena Linn is choreographer.

The production stars Annie Hotz in the title role and and introduces Jingles as Sandy.

Featured as Annie’s fellow orphans are Arianna Millheim (Molly); Madelyn Haupt (Kate); Ella Bloszinsky (Tessie); Ainsley Quay (Pepper); Sierra Docherty (July) and Abigail Carrig (Duffy).

Robert Fahringer is Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. Nina Elias Ace plays his secretary Grace Farrell.

Melisa Klausner plays the evil Miss Hannigan and Jarrod Yuskaukas and Cindy Lozada play her partners-in-crime, Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24, 25, 30, Oct. 1, 2, 7 and 8; 2 p.m. Oct. 3 and 10, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, main stage, Nineteenth Street Theatre, 527 N. 19th St., Allentown.

Free parking is available along Liberty and Allen streets near 19th Street, and on the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot at 19th and Liberty streets after business hours.

Tickets: civictheatre.com, 610-433-8903

“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Annie Hotz (Annie), “Annie,” Sept. 24-Oct. 10, Civic Theatre of Allentown.