ANNIE SILVESTER/Bullet News
The Port Colborne Operatic Society presented Annie this weekend in sold out shows at Lakeshore Catholic High School.
The original Broadway production which has won many awards including a Tony for Best Musical focuses on the life of orphaned red head Annie in the midst of the great depression who finds love and goes from rags to riches.
Bethany Ricker, who plays Annie, reminisced about how she claimed the lead role.
“I heard they were putting on Annie so I came and auditioned and we had a general sign up day and call back. We had to do a part of the script and a little bit of singing and I got chosen to play Annie.”
Ricker, a resident of Dunnville has taken private singing lessons and has sung in the Hamilton Children’s choir for the past six years which she says has really helped with her vocal background.
Although she adds it took a bit of time for her to get into the role of Annie once she found out she had landed the part.
“Annie is kind of a tough girl and she has a lot of spunk. But playing off the other characters like Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks has made it a lot easier because they’re really good at their parts.”
Melanie Hines-LaPlante stars as over the top persona Hannigan who plays the “orphan mistress” and says her role as the tough broad was fun to play.
“It’s a New York kind of Jersey accent that I use, and I’m drunk all the time and always on the look-out for a man.”
The competition was fierce for the part though and she prepared a lot for it by studying what others have done with it.
LaPlante says Carol Burnett “did the most perfect Hannigan” she has ever seen but “every person has their own unique interpretation” and in the end it was her that the casting directors picked for the part because she had “the right combination of the mean and the funny at the same time.”
Hines-LaPlante also doubles as the costume coordinator, a job that took lots of work and consideration.
“You’ve got to do a lot of studying and figure out what the era is. But the stage is different. It is not just normal wear it has to have a lot of colour and it has a psychological impact on the audience which you have to keep in mind.”
Once the curtain went up the incredible sets and vocal talents wowed the crowd of 650 with popular songs like Tomorrow and the adorable It’s a Hard Knocks Life.
Rounding out the cute factor was Annie’s dog Sandy (played by Hannah) that had the crowd wrapped around her paw.
Stephanie Menicanin publicist for the Operatic Society talked about why she thinks Annie is such a hit with the crowd.
“Especially in an area like we have now, we are all facing a lot of economic problems here in the Niagara Peninsula, so I think it really relates a lot to people personally. It’s the story of the hard knock life and basically being given the chance to do something with your life and turn it around and make something good out of it.”
She also adds there is a real wholesomeness to the show and in that it is appealing for everyone in the entire family.
There is still one weekend of performances that you can catch from Friday March 2-Sunday March 4th.
For full details please go to the website: www.portcolbourneoperaticsociety.com
For video overage please watch IKFADTV.com.