North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central stages “Annie,” featuring community actors

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North Central College’s Summer Musical Theatre presents the delightful family musical “Annie” July 15-17 and July 22-24, featuring some 115 actors from the community.

Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. July 15, 16, 22 and 23 with two Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. July 17 and 24 in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

North Central’s Fine Arts Director Brian Lynch will direct the production and recent music graduate Taylor Martin will provide musical direction.

Annie is a red-haired, spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. In various adventures throughout the play, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil schemes and is picked to live with billionaire Oliver Warbucks for a week as a publicity stunt. However, when she worms her way into the hearts of the entire household, her stay turns out to be more than anyone expected.

“There’s a saying in the industry that you never do shows with kids and dogs,” says Lynch. “But as far as I’m concerned, ‘Annie’ is the exception. It is perfect entertainment with a plot that wraps up, literally, on the last chord of the musical. And with our two diminutive Ethel Mermans singing and playing the part of Annie, the show is bound to please.”

This classic musical about never giving up hope was inspired by the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray and has toured internationally and turned into several films. The original 1977 Broadway show won seven Tony Awards and boasts one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “N.Y.C.” and “Tomorrow,” with lyrics by Martin Charnin and music by Charles Strouse.

The cast for “Annie” includes (part: name, hometown):
An additional 95 performers are part of the cast and chorus; the principal orphans are double cast.
Annie: Isabella Newhuis of Naperville
Annie: Taylor Oechsel of Naperville
Kate: Clare Mallen of Naperville
Kate: Jessica Mann of Naperville
Molly: Mia Lee of Bolingbrook
Molly: Megan Melnikoff of Naperville
Pepper: Audrey Hare of Aurora
Pepper: Gina Robertelli of Bloomingdale
Tessie: Emma Connelly of Naperville
Tessie: Doris Olsen of Naperville
Duffy: Margaret Maloney of Downers Grove
Duffy: Julia Roskopf of Naperville
July: Natalie Pear of Naperville
July: Gina Vekkos of Woodridge
Oliver Warbucks: Chris Oechsel of Naperville
Grace Farrel: Kathy Musselman of Woodridge
Miss Hannigan: Jennifer Prerost of Naperville
Drake: Stuart Vance of Naperville
Rooster: Chad Olsen of Naperville
Lily: Chelsea Ward of Naperville

“Annie” is the first of three musicals this summer at North Central College. “The Gondoliers,” directed by Matt Boresi, will be staged July 28-31, and “Hello, Dolly!” directed by Susan Craig-Olsen, will run July 29-31 and August 5-7.

This summer production is one of many ongoing programs hosted at North Central College to enrich and broaden the academic and cultural outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of North Central’s new 2011-2012 Sesquicentennial Fine & Performing Arts Season, art exhibits and other musical and theatrical productions, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

Contact: Nancy Dunker, associate director of public relations, 630-637-5306