Arne Larsen is Mr. Warbucks and Avianna Clempson plays the lead role in Annie by the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts. The show opens Jan. 9 at the Cultural Centre.

Arne Larsen is Mr. Warbucks and Avianna Clempson plays the lead role in Annie by the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts. The show opens Jan. 9 at the Cultural Centre.

Catch the warmth and wisdom of Annie in Chilliwack

A cast of 23 performers — and two dogs — are in Annie on stage at the Cultural Centre, Jan. 9-20.

A cast of 23 performers — and two dogs — are bringing the blockbuster musical Annie to the stage at the Cultural Centre, Jan. 9-20.

The enduring popularity of Annie is not hard to fathom.

“I think a huge array of people can relate to her journey,” says director Andrew Smith of the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts.

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, Little Orphan Annie manages to capture everyone’s hearts, starting from scratch as she does in New York City during the Dirty Thirties.

“Children can relate to the story because it touches on so many issue that all kids go through, as demonstrated by Annie herself and some of the other orphans.”

Annie opened on Broadway in 1977 and ran for 2,377 performances. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards that year, and won seven, including Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Book and Best Musical. The play was inspired by Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie comic strip which premiered in the New York Daily News in 1924.

As the story goes, Annie is determined to find her parents. They abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan.

With the help of the other girls in the Orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous and magical world of New York City.

“The adults can relate to Miss Hannigan,” says the director. “Every parent has had moments where they’re pulling their hair out and not sure what to do.”

CSOPA Sophomore Avianna Clempson plays the lead role of Annie at the feisty age of 11.

“She’s fantastic,” says Smith. “She’s been keen and super hard-working. Avianna fits the bill. She’s got tons of talent and she understands Annie’s journey.”

He says he couldn’t have asked for a better Annie.

“She has a lot of the qualities in herself that are ideal for the part of Annie, like a generally positive demeanor.”

The play follows adventure after fun-filled adventure, as Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations and befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She managed to find a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

Of course, the songs are catchy as ever.

“The tunes are wonderful and the story is very cleverly written.”

It also has political elements since the play version, as opposed to the movie version, is more true to the political tone of the original comic strip by Harold..

“The play itself is hugely political, since it was the time of the Great Depression and the transition from Hoover to Roosevelt.”

The role of Grace Farrell will be played by Kate Fairley, and Oliver Warbucks by Abbotsford resident Arne Larsen. Kessia Warren will take on the role of Miss Hannigan, while Rooster and Lily will be played by Max Glover and Carmen Sigurdson.

The roles of the other orphan girls will be portrayed by Adrienne Reitsma, Meghan Mindel, Andrea Arce, Olivia Moniz, Kirsten MacDonald and Melynda Nadon. Hannah deNevers will take on the head maid, Mrs. Drake, while Jonathan Woyke will play U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Rounding out the rest of the cast are Caylen Braun, Brandon Grove, Hailey Hansen, Kathryn Harder, Hyacinthe Lithgow, Jordan Orto, Josh Robinson, Olivia Simpson, Sebastian Warkentin-Scott and Jessica Westeringh.

They’ve worked hard to make the look of the set and the costumes complementary, and evoke the look of the Dirty Thirties in NYC.

Lisa Zimmer is the musical director, Trischa Buhler is the orchestra director, and Shelley Wojcik the choreographer. Set by Tara Arnett, costumes by Heather Westergard and lights by Jamea Lister.

“We’ve tried to be as authentic as we can with a little bit of creative flair, so the audience goes, here we are in 1933,” Smith says.

Leapin’ lizards, it oughta be fun!

The Chilliwack School of Performing Arts is proud to present Annie, from Jan. 9 to 20 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Previews on Wednesday, Jan. 9, and Jan. 10, and Annie opens on Friday, Jan. 11, and runs until Sunday, Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. evening performances on Jan. 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, and 2 p.m. matinée performances on Jan. 12, 13, 19, 20. Adults $20, students & seniors $15, $9.75 all seats on Jan. 9, 10 (evening),12 (matinée) Tickets at the centre box office or 604-391-SHOW (7469).

Just Posted

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Most Read