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updated: 7/13/2011 8:11 AM

North Central College presents 'Annie'

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  • Taylor Oechsel brings hope to her fellow orphans as one of two Naperville actresses cast as "Annie" in North Central College's community theater production debuting Friday.

       Taylor Oechsel brings hope to her fellow orphans as one of two Naperville actresses cast as "Annie" in North Central College's community theater production debuting Friday.
    Rick Majewski | Staff Photographer

 
By Meghan Keenan
mkeenan@dailyherald.com

The classic Broadway show "Annie" won seven Tony Awards, toured internationally, had several film adaptations and one of Broadway's most memorable scores. Now North Central College and the Naperville community are presenting it this summer as one of three musical theater productions.

Six performances will be staged beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, July 15 to 23, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. July 17 and 24 in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E Benton Ave., Naperville.

North Central Fine Arts Director Brian Lynch is directing the show and recent music graduate Taylor Martin is providing musical direction.

Lynch said he enjoys directing summer musical theater because it's fun, it's relaxing and he gets to work with a variety of talent including young children, college students and community members.

"Since we usually have so many young people involved in the show, it seemed natural to do a show featuring young girls," Lynch said.

In the upcoming performances, the role of Annie is double cast with Isabella Newhuis and Taylor Oechsel, both from Naperville.

Annie is a spunky, red-haired young girl who is determined to find her parents and is the voice of hope for her fellow orphans. The show is set during the Great Depression in New York City and includes the memorable hits "Tomorrow," and "It's a Hard-Knock Life."

Lynch worked at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in 1983 when "Annie" was originally performed. He also worked on another community theater production of the show several years ago.

"I'm trying to stay as true as I can to the original intention," he said.

Other North Central faculty members will be directing "The Gondoliers" and "Hello Dolly" later in the summer.

"Our faculty loves to put on productions and this gives them a way to do it year round," said Nancy Dunker, associate director of public relations at North Central.

Community members audition for the shows in the spring. And while some fill acting roles, others work behind the scenes in stage management and costume jobs.

It's a way for the college and the community to do something together, Dunker said.

"The college is very intentional about its connection with the community; we're an integral part of Naperville," she said. "The shows get people in our campus and our venue, and we get to meet a lot of the families in the community."

Tickets for "Annie" are $15 for adults and $10 for children and senior citizens. For tickets, call the North Central College Box Office at (630) 637-7469 or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

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