Young performers steal show in 'Annie' performance
The adults in the Southwest Nebraska Community Theater Association must be feeling the truth of that old vaudevillian advice, "never work with kids or animals."
Yes, the adults did their usual great job bringing "Annie" to life, from John and Sheryl Havens as "Daddy Warbucks" and the pitiful "Miss Hannigan," Charlie Coleman as her conniving brother "Rooster" -- and all the rest. The Depression-era setting seemed especially relevant as our nation struggles to recover from our own "Great Recession" in the face of new challenges.
But from lead Olivia Taylor's giggle on "Tomorrow" while dealing with a squirming "Sandy" (performed by Buddy, who hit his marks every time, as far as we could tell), to the "Hard Knock Life" dance number, the girls stole the show -- thanks, no doubt, to director Christy Stevens who has a talent for drawing the best performance possible out of any singer or actor.
Kathy Latta's orchestra sounded much larger than its seven members, and, coupled with sets designed by Dian Trail and constructed by her husband Chuck and many others, plus choreography directed by Robin Marks, and the myriad other details left the audience feeling it was watching a show direct from Broadway.
Thankfully, the performance was spread over two weekends and the public responded by turning out in record numbers and near sellouts for every performance.
Our community owes a debt of gratitude to the many people involved in SWNCTA and the hours of preparation and performance that go into productions like "Annie," improving the quality of life in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas in the process.
The latest production showed just how much talent is coming up with the next generation, and how important it is for adults to invest in youth, our most important resource.
SWNCTA is committed to doing just that, helping bring the Missoula Children's Theatre here again next month.
From the looks of their animated, fearless performances, the young members of the cast of "Annie" and others like them will be delighting local audiences for years to come.