‘Annie’ Celebrates Return of Live Theater in Wynona | People
Musical theater is back in Cody.
The Cody Community Theater organization will present the musical “Annie” from November 12 to 14 at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium.
“We want to do live theater, we want to have an audience,” said show director Donna-Lynn Murray.
She said she chose to do the musical about an upbeat orphan who finds a family, because it’s an upbeat show – which she says anyone could use right now.
“It’s so good, just a happy show,” Murray said. “And that’s what our community needs, I think.”
In the title role, Cody Middle School student Jillian Nordberg, who Murray said it was a dream to work with.
“I’ve been watching her for a few years now as she grew up,” Murray said. “She took the weight of all this production, at 13, and kills it! She’s so energetic, she’s prepared, she’s professional in everything she does – at 13.
Jillian’s character, orphan Annie, brings happiness and love to grumpy billionaire Oliver Warbucks, played by Dan Smith.
“He works hard to be a cranky old man, because he’s not,” said Murray, who last worked with Smith when they were the main characters in “Mamma Mia”.
Kennedy Corr stars as Warbucks’ longtime assistant, whom audiences have seen in numerous productions – musical and otherwise – over the past decade since she was a student at Cody High School.
“Kennedy takes him out of the park,” praised Murray. “She usually gets dramatic roles, so to her playing a stuck secretary is new to her.”
This production also brings new faces to Cody’s theatergoers.
“Jessika Albrecht isn’t new to Cody, having grown up here, but she’s new to us,” Murray said. “She does a great job as Miss Hannigan (the grumpy head of the orphanage and Annie’s nemesis) – she’s mean but adorable.”
A supporting cast that is a mix of new and old faces has allowed Murray to feature community theater regulars in different roles. Murray’s son, Jake (“Jakey!” Laughs Murray) is indispensable both on stage and backstage.
“He’s Rooster (Miss Hannigan’s twisted brother), and he’s currently building all of our sets as we speak.”
Aili Roberson is the other character actor who wears multiple hats in this production. She plays Lily St. Regis, as well as one of the Boylan sisters. She also plays the assistant dog catcher. Roberson is also a regular at CCT, having appeared in numerous productions over the past five years.
Other supporting actors include Felicity Soto, Haileigh Moore, Sarah Grosz, Charlotte Ballard, Jaida Brice, Sara Murray, Sean Murray, Craig Pierce, Derrick Walton, Kieran Beebe, Melinda Soto, Jeff Sandvik, Tessa Hernandez, Emily Burrell, Deni Hirsh , Bethea Kalenak, Emily Jones, Kieran Beebe, Justin Weigand, Harmony Boyd, Kristen LaBazzo, Trisha Lightman, Sylie Black, Kori Black, Emmalee Beardall, Eagle Bateman and Corrine Burrell. Drew Murray and Taylor Mariani also have minor roles on stage.
Any musical is as good as its musicians, and Donna-Lynn expressed her gratitude to Noma Walton, the rehearsal accompanist for the show.
“We couldn’t do this without her!” Murray exclaimed. “She has been instrumental in the organization of the Cody Community Theater for many, many years.”
The musical director of the production is another Murray – Drew is Jake’s wife and has been a part of Cody’s stages since his high school days. Drew is also the new theater coach at the CHS and has just completed the play “Radium Girls”.
Michael Jaycox has taken on the post of pit conductor. He is a music teacher at Powell and has been involved with CCT since the production of the “I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning” dinner theater. Murray points out that Jaycox did not take a backstage position prior to this production.
“We are delighted to have him at the helm of this show,” she said.
Taylor (Reeder) Mariani, who is the assistant director, is another regular at the Cody theater trying out a new role this time around.
“This is the first time she’s done a behind-the-scenes job,” Murray said. “She’s always been on stage – but she really enjoys it and is learning a lot.”
Murray herself has appeared both on stage and backstage since her family moved to Cody in 2005. Her directing credits include “Little Shop of Horrors” in 2018, “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017, and Shrek. in 2016; she was the musical director of “Music Man”; and appeared on stage most recently as Donna in “Mamma Mia”.
But this year’s production has proven to be more difficult than most due to the pandemic.
“The CCT board decided that a mask warrant was needed for the cast members during the rehearsal process to keep us healthy,” she explained. “We’ve had our issues with people with COVID and other illnesses, where the cast must have missed many rehearsals. This puts a strain on the other cast members.
Murray said she was grateful that people who fell ill contacted her so they were able to quarantine those who needed to be quarantined.
“That’s why we started the mask tenure, so we didn’t have to quarantine the entire cast if a person was positive. We are doing everything we can to stay healthy and bring a show back to the community. “
Tickets for “Annie” can be purchased at showtix4u.com; and The Thistle and the Nordberg Lindauer Gallery in Cody. Adult tickets are $ 25, tickets for children (under 12) are $ 15, and all proceeds are donated to the non-profit Cody Community Theater to fund future shows.
Show hours will be November 12 at 7:30 p.m. November 13 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and November 14 at 2 p.m. Masks are required for the health of the actors, but not mandatory.