AOS Annie programme Spring 2017


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The programme for our Spring 2017 production of Annie

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Abingdon Operatic Society Tues 18 – Sat 22 April 2017 7:30pm Matinee - Sat 22 April 2:30pm The Amey Theatre Abingdon School, OX14 1DE


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Abingdon Operatic Society’s Annie Book by Thomas Meehan Music by Charles Strouse Lyrics by Martin Charnin Original production directed by Martin Charnin Originally produced by Irwin Meyer, Stephen R. Friedman, Lewis Allen, Alvin Nederlander Associates Inc., The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Icarus Productions. Based on “Little Orphan Annie”® by permission of Tribune Media Services Inc. This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe). All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe. Director - Rob Bertwistle Musical Director - Mark Denton Choreographer - Kerry Callaghan THERE WILL BE AN INTERVAL OF TWENTY MINUTES BETWEEN THE ACTS PLEASE ENSURE THAT ALL MOBILE PHONES ARE SWITCHED OFF The use of all cameras, video and audio equipment is prohibited PLEASE NOTE THAT SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE ON ABINGDON SCHOOL PREMISES, INCLUDING ALL OUTSIDE AREAS Refreshments are available in the foyer conservatory


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Vice-Chairman’s welcome ~ Iain Launchbury Welcome to this performance of Abingdon Operatic Society’s Annie! It has been famously said that one should “never work with animals or children”. And yet, here we are with both in this production! Thirty-eight young ladies have joined us for this show, plus one dog. We auditioned 120 girls back in November, and the remarkable quality of them all made it very difficult for the production team to whittle them down to the final two teams of 19. Many of you will know the film version of Annie, either the 1982 or 2014 incarnation. The stage show is a little different, but we’re sure you’ll enjoy it just as much. The acerbic quote above is famously attributed to W. C. Fields, but in fact, he never said it! He loved to entertain children and often encouraged boys who sent him letters after being inspired by his juggling. We hope that we have similarly encouraged all the children participating in the show to continue with musical theatre in the future, hopefully in another AOS show. We welcome Rob Bertwistle as our Director for this show. Rob has been a member of the Society for many years, but this is his first foray onto the other side of the curtain, following his recent attendance at the NODA Summer School ‘Directing Musical Theatre’ course. The knowledge gained at the course and his acting experience have combined to provide a great director for this show, as you will see tonight. It’s our delight to welcome back both our Musical Director, Mark Denton and our Choreographer, Kerry Callaghan. Mark‘s long association with the Society means he has once again brought out the best in our members. Kerry’s enthusiasm and energy inspires everyone, adult and child alike, to give their all to realise her choreography. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who came to see Barnum for helping to make it our most successful show ever. It costs us upwards of £25,000 to put on a show, and receiving such wonderful support from our audience makes all of us very grateful. Your support lets us continue to do what we love – put on great shows for you to enjoy. We hope to see you all again for our next production, Sister Act, in the Autumn. 3


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Director ~ Rob Bertwistle When I was lucky enough to have a principal role a few shows ago I wrote in my programme biography notes that I was hopefully going to have the chance to direct a show for AOS – and now the chance has indeed presented itself. The show you are about to watch has been the culmination of many sleepless nights and the arrival at the end of a very steep learning curve. However, I could not have got to this point without the help of some truly wonderful and selfless people who have guided me through this quite daunting, but very exciting process. The unseen production team, led by Barry Greenaway, has provided invaluable guidance in making my ‘vision’ come to life, with the help also of my co-production team of Musical Director Mark Denton and my patient and always encouraging choreographer, Kerry Callaghan. Perhaps directing Annie was not such a good choice for my directorial debut, as arranging rehearsals for almost forty children, plus the adult cast, has proven challenging – to say the least. We have two teams of children - Team ‘Hannigan’ and Team ‘Warbucks’ and both sets of girls have worked so hard and shown such commitment that it has been a privilege to work with them. May I also say a huge “thank you” to all the mums and dads and assorted relatives for delivering and collecting the children from rehearsals and for bearing with my quite frequent deviation from the schedule. Thanks must also go to all the chaperones who have given of their time so freely and generously. I have heard it said that Annie is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. But in all honesty, what is there to hate? The show has all the ingredients needed to make for a great evening’s entertainment – a great story, humour, pathos and some cracking songs. Add to this some very over-the-top characters and there we have this wonderful musical – Annie. But I’m sure you’ll agree that at least half our audience will only be there to see a lively, but lovely, untrained dog comically misbehave and ignore any kind of direction live, on stage, to music. Ultimately, this show is pure theatre gold. 4


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Musical Director ~ Mark Denton This is Mark’s ninth show with AOS and he is delighted to have been invited to be Musical Director for a third time. Mark spent many years in Australia teaching peripatetic brass and piano lessons and conducting choral and instrumental ensembles in independent schools. Since gaining his Diploma in Education in 2010 he has worked as a secondary school music teacher. Recent credits include Musical Director for The Full Monty (BMH Productions), The Pirates of Penzance (Oxford Operatic Society), Oklahoma! and Joseph (Ipswich Orpheus Chorale, Brisbane), The Drowsy Chaperone (MAC Productions) and Sweet Charity and Copacabana with AOS. His favorite stage role has been as Patsy in the 2009 production of Spamalot with IOC. Choreographer ~ Kerry Callaghan Kerry is delighted to work with AOS again choreographing Annie. She has loved every minute of working with the cast, especially the children as they are always so keen to learn the new routines and show her what other steps they can do to bring their own personalities into the show. Kerry has found choreographing Annie has really kept her on her toes; there are more company numbers than people first think and the need to have a very different teaching style with the children than the adults (she has had to be much harder on the adults!). Kerry wishes the cast and production team an amazing week and hopes that you, the audience, leave the theatre with a big smile, singing and dancing to all of your favourite tunes. 5


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Annie - a synopsis It’s 1933 and the depths of the Great Depression in the USA. Eleven year old Annie is living in the Municipal Orphanage on New York's Lower East Side. Miss Hannigan is the principal in charge of the orphanage and needs no lessons in being compared to the wicked witch of the West. Annie decides to escape and try and find her parents. Naturally, this proves unsuccessful. However, Grace Farrell, kindly secretary to the famous millionaire Oliver Warbucks, is searching for an orphan that she might invite back to the Warbucks' household to celebrate Christmas. Despite Warbucks' disappointment that Grace has not found a boy, he takes to Annie and institutes a nationwide search to try and find the little girl's real parents. Miss Hannigan interferes and primes her disreputable brother, Rooster, and his girlfriend, Lily, suggesting that they claim Annie as their daughter and thus pocket the reward money. Meanwhile Annie is in Washington cheering up the president, Franklin D Roosevelt. However, Rooster and Lily turn up at the Warbucks’ mansion and claim Annie - and the reward. Grace, however, has seen Rooster at Miss Hannigan's office and smells a rat. Subsequently the couple's fraudulent claim is exposed – at the same time it is discovered that Annie's parents had, in fact, died some time ago. Warbucks plans to adopt Annie, and her fellow orphans are invited back to the Warbucks' home to share in the festival of Christmas – just as America looks forward to future prosperity in the wake of the depression. National Operatic and Dramatic Association Abingdon Operatic Society is very proud to be a member of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and you may notice a number of the members of our front-of-house team wearing their NODA long service medals tonight. NODA’s vision is that amateur theatre should be successful and sustainable, providing a range of opportunities for people to develop their skills and enjoy taking part, at all levels. They support the education and information needs of individuals and groups, contributing greatly to the continued success of amateur theatre in the UK. As usual, a NODA representative will be attending the show during this week and feeding back to the Society on the production with the helpful and much anticipated ‘NODA crit’ — a review of the performance and all aspects of the production. 7


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Joy Skeels Q&A Miss Hannigan What does a leading lady do when she can no longer pass for a twenty-one year old who’s never been kissed? Move into character parts? Use her experience to direct shows? Or perhaps take on an organisational role? Well, let’s ask her! How did you get involved in musical theatre? My mother was in Rugeley Operatic Society and I’d always be at rehearsals, eating chocolates with the other children. Then one year I just wanted to join in. What was the show? It was Calamity Jane and I was a dance hall girl. I was fourteen years old and I loved it. And what was your first leading role? Ah, it was the following year. They were doing Kismet and I was asked to audition for the leading role, Marsinah. It was a bit tricky, because my mother had already auditioned for the part. The last night of the show was my sixteenth birthday. You’d been bitten by the theatrical bug? I think you could say that. I had twenty-five years of doing just about every leading role in musical theatre – all amateur, of course – but it was wonderful. I moved from Staffordshire down to Oxfordshire in the 90s and just carried on doing two big shows each year. Which have been your favourite roles? Well, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady is special – I’ve done that three times. And Calamity Jane is a great part too – I’ve done that twice. It’s hard to choose really. Camelot, Carousel, Crazy For You – and that’s just the Cs. I think it must be at least forty leading roles over the years. It’s my hobby and I love it. What is it apart from the need to show off wearing pretty costumes? Ha ha. Well, there is a bit of that, I can’t deny it. But the feeling of teamwork and camaraderie is so overwhelming too. I’ve got to know so many wonderful, kind, friendly people over the years. I honestly can’t think what my life would have been like without it. So, what does happen when those leading roles start going to the younger women? What can you do? Time catches up with us all in the end. But I love it too much to give it up. Nowadays I look at the whole cast list for a show and see if there’s a part to which I could bring something fresh. It often means that rather than fluttering my eyelashes I’m playing for laughs instead. And how are you finding the nasty Miss Hannigan? Oh I’m absolutely loving being Miss Hannigan. It’s actually really satisfying to be the baddie. And it’s nice not to always have to sing pretty too – now I get the chance to bring the character into the song more. I’m enjoying it as much as ever – in fact, some of my favourite roles 8


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have come in the last five years. You’re directing shows for AOS now as well. How do you find that? Yes, that’s right. My first was Crazy For You in 2012 and since then I’ve directed Sweet Charity and last Autumn’s Barnum. And straight after Annie I start work on Sister Act. It’s a different sort of challenge. I’ve worked with some wonderful directors over the years and I just try to take the best things from each. But show week is very weird – everyone else is madly busy and my work is done. It’s very strange. And then last year you stepped into a new role – chairman of AOS. Yes, I’ve served on the committee in several societies in the past and been chairman once before too. I think that if you get a lot of pleasure from a hobby, it’s important to give something back. When there’s work that needs to be done – and there’s a lot involved in keeping groups like this alive – I believe in stepping forward and doing my bit. I want other people to enjoy the pleasure I’ve had over the years. How do you prepare for show week? I’m a creature of habit. I like to get my costumes organised, my make-up box arranged, and to be at the theatre early. I like a simple routine that I can repeat night after night. I like to get into ‘the zone’ and then I’m ready to go on. And a bottle of gin on the dressing room table? Ha ha – no! We’re not allowed alcohol backstage at all. And anyway, I’d be too frightened of forgetting my lines. But don’t worry – we have an active social week too, with after-show meals and parties. It’s all part of the fun.


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Abingdon Operatic Society presents Coming to Abingdon October 2017 For details of how to join AOS please email: “And remember! God loves us when we sing… even like that!” 10


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Annie - Musical Numbers Act I Scene One: the New York City Municipal Orphanage, early December 1933. Maybe – Annie It’s the Hard-knock Life – Annie and The Orphans Scene Two: the streets of New York City. Tomorrow – Annie Scene Three: Hooverville, underneath the 59th Street Bridge. We’d Like to Thank You – Sophie, The Hooverville-ites Scene Four: in front of the Orphanage. Little Girls – Miss Hannigan Scene Five: the living room of the Warbucks' mansion. I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here – Grace, Annie, Drake, Cecille, Annette, Mrs. Pugh, Other Servants Scene Six: the streets of New York City. N.Y.C. – Warbucks, Grace, Annie, A Star To Be and New Yorkers Scene Seven: the sewing room of the Orphanage. Easy Street – Miss Hannigan, Rooster, Lily Scene Eight: Warbucks' office in the mansion. Why Should I Change a Thing? – Warbucks You Won’t Be an Orphan For Long – Grace, Drake, Mrs. Pugh, Cecille, Annette, Servants and Warbucks Act II Scene One: the NBC radio studio, New York. You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile – Bert Healy, the Boylans and ‘The Hour of Smiles' Family Scene Two: the sewing room at the Orphanage. You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile (Reprise) – The Orphans Easy Street (Reprise) – Miss Hannigan, Rooster, Lily Scene Three - the Cabinet Room at the White House, Washington. Tomorrow (Cabinet Reprise) – Annie, FDR, Warbucks and The Cabinet Scene Four: the Warbucks' mansion. Something Was Missing – Warbucks Scene Five: the Warbuck's mansion. I Don’t Need Anything But You – Grace, Servants, Warbucks and Annie Scene Six: the East ballroom at the Warbucks' mansion. Same Effect on Everyone – Annie A New Deal for Christmas – Annie, Warbucks, Grace, FDR and The Staff FINALE and BOWS 11


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The Company L-R: Lucy Bent, Tara Melia Hunt, Di Bryan, Lynne Winter, Nigel Winter, Laura Huang 12


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Annie - Principal Cast Annie Oliver Warbucks Miss Hannigan Grace Farrell Lily St Regis ‘Rooster’ Hannigan Bert Healey Roosevelt/Lt.Ward Boylan Sisters Drake Harley Edwards/Hannah Peel John Wilkes Joy Skeels Jenna Elliott Kate Brock Adrian Amstead Tom Codd Paul Bruce Sarah Chitty Anne Churchill Stone Jo Pickering Patrick Cole ‘Sandy’ the dog played by Finley Hunter The Company Oliver Barker, Lucy Bent, Di Bryan, Dave Cousin, Valerie Findlay, Linda Harris, Tina Hood-Liles, Laura Huang, Tara Melia Hunt, Kirsty Hunt, Toby Littlejohn, Hope Littlejohn, Kevin Pope, Lynne Winter, Nigel Winter Team ‘Warbucks’ Children Team ‘Hannigan’ Children Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Matinee Bibi Benson Mia Helm Isla Cassidy Elsa Hobart Lena Davies Libby Holding Ella Day Zara Jones Beatrice Dixon Young Isabel Lasseter Saskia Donaldson Ruby Lewis Hayley Evans Annie Roberts Maddie Good Grace Ruggerio Harriet Grace Wednesday, Friday, Saturday Evening Freya Allan Neela Nee Alice Amor Lilly Partridge Amaya Butler Anna Spurgeon Beth Fairbain Ilona Sell Imogen Holdstock Hope Tait Hetty Hughes Poppy Timbrell Libby Lovelock Emily Vines Tehya Lovelock Emma Woods Niamh Murphy Ibby Wren Reed 1 - Harry Flint Reed 2 - Amy Wood Reed 3 - Drew Cowburn Trumpet 1 - Luke Scott Trumpet 2 - Simon Phipps Trombone - Daniel King Tuba - Shaun Humphries The Orchestra Violin - Deborah Wilde Cello - Miranda Ricardo Piano - Sue Payne Guitar - Gary Mullins Bass - Graeme Hollingdale Percussion 1 - Rob Maclennan/Dave Hadland Percussion 2 - Chris Fletcher-Campbell 13



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