Saturday, September 30, 2017

Little Orphan Annie at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford.

Pam Schwartz and I went to the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (201 S. Magnolia Ave Sanford, FL 32771) to see  dress rehearsal for the musical, Annie directed by Cynthea Fuoco. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the Orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's (Amy Hughs) evil machinations... and even befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt! She finds a new home and family in billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (Stephen McPherson), his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

I have never seen the play although I have seen examples of several of the comic strips. We approached the theater, walking down a narrow alley way to the stage door. We walked right into the dressing room and had to make our way back into the house. The first order of business was the sound checks for each actor. Everyone had on a microphone. Clearly the number, "Its a hard knock Life" had been rehearsed often. The kids scrubbed the floor while singing the song, and they would bang down the buckets to the beat of the music.

There were some rough transitions but this was a rehearsal so I am sure any kinks will get worked out before the show opens. My favorite scene was when Annie and Sandy, the dog (Olive Garvey) she had just found, confront a cop (Rob Dove). He pulls the dog aside and tells Annie to call the dog by name. If he doesn't go to her than clearly it was not her dog. She whistled and called Sandy and the dog took off towards her. But then he ran right past her and down the stage steps into the audience. The police man stayed in character and said, "See that is most certainly not your dog." It was a hilarious moment and I hope the dog continues to stray from his mark.

The play is clearly a wish fulfillment for a country that was suffering from the great depression. It seems a bit far fetched that Annie singing, "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" would help inspire Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (Russell Trahan)  New Deal. The young actress playing Annie (Lily Dove) did a great job. One little, Molly (Irelyn Silvestro) also stood out as she joked and played with Mrs Hannigan.

When: Remaining show dates, September 30, 7:30-9 p.m., Sundays, 3-4:30 p.m., Oct. 6-7, 7:30-9 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 7, 2-3:30 p.m. Continues through Oct. 8
Phone: 407-321-8111
Price: $20-$27

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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