Casting is now complete for the Paper Mill production of Annie, which begins previews Oct. 30 prior to an official opening on Nov. 1. The Tony Award-winning musical about everyone's favorite orphan runs through Dec. 8.
As previously announced, the title role will be filled by Sarah Hyland, who played Molly in the TV production of the musical. Other principal players include Rich Hebert as Daddy Warbucks, Catherine Cox as Miss Hannigan, Crista Moore as Grace Farrell, Jim Walton as Rooster Hannigan, Tia Speros as Lily St. Regis, Eric Michael Gillett as FDR and Buster as Annie's beloved dog Sandy.
Annie's fellow orphans will be played by Ivana Grace (Duffy), Molly Jobe (Pepper), Ashlee Keating (Tessie), Chiara Navarra (Kate), Jacklyn Neidanthal (Molly) and Addison Timlin (July) with swings Brynn Williams and Stacey Rose Richman. The ensemble of Annie comprises John Paul Almon, Colin Cunliffe, Montego Glover (Star to Be), Tripp Hanson (Bert Healy), Ken Kantor, Jody Madaras, Anna McNeely, Karyn Overstreet, Larissa Shukis, A.J. Sullivan, Jennifer Taylor and Tom Treadwell.
It was also recently announced that there will be several special performances of the musical, which is based on the famed comic strip: Following the evening performances on Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 26, Paper Mill will offer its "Conversation Series," which allows audience members to ask questions of the cast and staff. Audio-described performances will be held on Nov. 27 (2 PM), Nov. 30 (2:30 PM) and Dec. 1 (7:30 PM) with a sensory seminar held 90 minutes before curtain. And, sign-interpreted/open captioned performances are scheduled for the Dec. 1 (7:30 PM) and Dec. 6 (8 PM) shows.
* Annie will feature direction by Greg Ganakas and choreography by Linda Goodrich. Ganakas recently staged the Goodspeed Opera House production of Babes in Arms. For Goodspeed Musicals, he has also directed The Pajama Game, Brigadoon and George M! Ganakas also staged productions for Long Wharf Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, American Musical Theatre of San Jose (Dean Goodman Award), Ordway Music Theatre, Sacramento Civic Light Opera and Sharon Stage.
Linda Goodrich choreographed the national tour of Singin’ in the Rain. She began her career re-creating the dances for a European tour of Cabaret after performing in the Broadway revival. She has choreographed several productions at the Music Theatre of Wichita, and her work has also been seen at Goodspeed Opera House, North Shore Music Theatre, Long Beach Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and Sacramento Music Circus.
Featuring a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, Annie is based on the famed comic-strip character who begins an orphan and ends up the daughter of a billionaire. The original Broadway production opened in April 1977 and made a star out of its first Annie, Andrea McArdle. The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
Tickets, priced between $30 and $62, are available by calling (973) 376 4343. Paper Mill: State Theatre of New Jersey is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. For more information, go to www.papermill.org
—By Andrew Gans