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Cappies: Holt High School brings out the sun with 'Annie'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 26, 2012 - Deprived orphans, a spontaneously caring billionaire, missing parents, a nationwide search, a fake reunion, a satisfying arrest, a devastated economy, and a new deal all mixed together into one heartfelt night at Holt High School’s performance of “Annie.”

“Annie” is about a sweet, but tough street smart orphan named Annie, who wants to find her long lost mom and dad. It’s based on a comic strip called “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray. In the play, Annie is taken in by a billionaire (Oliver Warbucks) for the Christmas holiday. She tells him about her lost parents; and he immediately strikes up a nationwide search to find them. After some attempted fraud and confusion, Warbucks decides to adopt Annie.

Nathan Hinds (Oliver Warbucks) did a great job showing the progression of opening up to Annika Mills (Annie). In the first scene they appeared in together, he was hesitant and closed. As the play progressed, he slowly opened up; by the end you could practically feel the fatherly love. Annika did a phenomenal job; her playing the lead actress is only made more impressive by the fact that it was this 6th grader’s first performance.

Most of the orphans for this play were played by middle and elementary school students. They all did a great job especially during their enthusiastic performance of “Hard Knock Life.” Allie Sanderson (Lily St. Regis) played the energetic and ditzy girlfriend of Chris Brueggeman (Roster Hannigan) with just the right mix of pushiness and cunning.

The lighting was put together very well, even with the multiple set changes. Make up crew did amazing work especially on the Citizens and Denizens of New York City, some of which were made to look like the poor unemployed Hooverville residents. With this being said, the crew that deserves the most props, is the props crew. They provided a wheelchair, a ridiculous number of buckets, and numerous other items that added to the success of the performance, but they also provided a live C.H.A.M.P.  Assistance dog named Hogan to play the part of Sandy.

The performers and the orchestra sounded great, but at times their greatness was difficult to hear. The first problem was that, while the orchestra was amazing, on occasion it overpowered the actors. Second, while the singing was incredible, at times it was difficult to hear because of problems with the mics.

Holt High School’s performance of “Annie” was fantastic. They did a phenomenal job of recreating a long time classic. Their use of younger performers as the orphan children, and a live dog as Sandy along with their incredible performance, made this into a memorable, hilarious, thought-provoking, and heart-touching night.

Michael Carter is a student at Francis Howell High School. The Cappies program works with students who review student theatrical productions.

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