‘Gee whiskers:’ theatre school brings classic musical to life

(reposted from http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com)

Let’s sing | Theatre school can’t wait to take stage


You can bet your bottom dollar audiences of all ages will fall in love with Theatre New Brunswick Theatre School’s latest production.

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High school-aged students in the program have been rehearsing the musical Annie since September. The play debuts tonight at The Playhouse.

Annie is set during 1933. The musical tells the story of a young, optimistic orphan who escapes from a dreary orphanage and befriends a billionaire during her quest to find her long lost parents.

Sharisse LeBrun plays the title role in the theatre school production.

She said she’s excited about the play’s opening and hopes audiences will enjoy watching the performance as much as she has enjoyed rehearsing for it.

“There are lots of classic songs people will recognize from the movie, but there are also some twists,” she said. “I’m hoping people will really like it.

“The cast and the directorial crew is fun to work with, and rehearsals have been going really well.”

LeBrun’s pet dog, Wilbur, will be making his acting debut in the role of Annie’s dog, Sandy. She said working with her pet was a positive experience.

“I haven’t worked with animals on stage before,” she said. “I had to train him using treats. It’s definitely been fun and interesting.”

Co-director Melanie Cain said the students have put a lot of hard work into the production. She said their dedication will be evident from the moment the curtains open.

“The play looks absolutely fantastic,” Cain said. “All the kids have worked together as a great team.

“There are no small parts; everyone is putting forward 150 per cent, and they’ve shown nothing but professional conduct.”

Cain was joined by co-director Tania Breen, artistic producer Caleb Marshall, orchestra director and soClick to Enlargeund design instructor Michael Doherty, set and lighting designer Mike Johnston, choral director Alex Good and costume designer Sherry Kinnear.

Cain said this was her directorial debut, and she’s pleased by how smoothly everything has gone from start to finish.

“It’s a little scary because there’s no panic on our end,” she said.

“Both the directors are very calm, and normally at this stage there’s a lot of panic.

“It’s been great, and I couldn’t have asked for an easier cast to work with. Everyone is keen to offer their input on their characters and they really bring it all to life.”

Cain said she’s confident the musical will have an excellent reception during its three-day run at The Playhouse.

“Younger children and families will enjoy it,” she said. “Everyone will love it; there isn’t anyone out there who doesn’t love Annie.”

Annie runs today through Saturday at The Playhouse with daily shows at 8 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

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