Monday, February 12, 2018

Announcing the Principal Staff of Annie!

We are proud to wrap up our season with the crowd favorite, Annie! Sponsored by RSM, Annie will run August 3-5, 8-12. A heart-filled production of a family favorite, Muni’s 2018 production of Annie will be full of poignant comedy and attention to historic detail as it explores the question of what makes a family.   

Plucky and optimistic, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage that is run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC, making her way from the Hooverville shantytown to the palatial mansion of billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Along the way, with the help of Warbucks’ personal secretary Grace Farrell and a lovable mutt named Sandy, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's schemes, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and finds a new home and family. The sun’ll come out this summer at the Muni!

Director: Carly Shank
Carly directed Muni's Sweeney Todd and Oliver! and appeared on stage last summer as Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins. She has also directed Next to Normal and Joseph... for the HCFTA, The Crucible and Mr. Lincoln for TIP, and STC's production of Rent.  Carly works as Director of Audience Development for Sangamon Auditorium, and is delighted to lead the team for this summer's production of Annie, having been in the casts of three previous Springfield productions of Annie, going back to Springfield's very first first production of the beloved musical in 1983. 

Producer: Dennis O'Brien
Dennis has been involved in Muni productions onstage, backstage, and as board member of both the Board of Managers and Board of Trustees for several decades. A three time President of Muni, he knows where most of the bodies are buried, and it is rumored he planted several of them personally. That makes him a perfect candidate for the position of Producer.  He is an attorney with Livingstone, Mueller, O’Brien & Davlin, P.C., and he is the proud father of Sean, Kate, Betsy and Conor, all of whom have graced the Muni stage on numerous occasions. 

Assistant Director: John Sivak
John is very excited to be on the staff of Annie this summer! This is his 20th year of involvement with the Muni, he previously directed Muni’s South Pacific in 2016 and has performed in and directed several shows around the area. This is John’s third production of Annie, he was in the chorus of the 2003 STC production and was FDR in the 2010 Muni production. He is very much looking forward to creating new memories with the cast and staff of this year’s show.

Vocal Director: Christie Lazarides
Christie is so excited to be a part of the Annie team! This will be Christie’s 11th year on staff for Muni, having most recently vocal directed Muni’s RENT, Shrek, Spamalot, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Mary Poppins. This will be Christie’s fourth time being involved in a production of Annie. She performed as an orphan twice, including once as Pepper in one of Muni’s productions. Annie was also the very first show Christie ever vocal directed. 

Choreographer: Casey Tester
Casey is an English teacher at Riverton High School where she has directed, assisted with, and/or choreographed nearly twenty shows, including most recently Legally Blonde, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Shrek; but this is her first time participating in a community theater production, other than supporting and enjoying it from the audience. She is thrilled to be joining the Muni family, and especially for the opportunity to work with Carly, who is the first person to inspire in her a love of musical theater through an unforgettable camp during the summer of 1992 (where she just so happened to perform Annie's "Maybe"). Twelve years ago, Annie was Casey's first opportunity to try out her choreography skills, and she is so grateful to revisit its magic again this summer! 

Assistant Vocal Director: Haley Muller
Haley is thrilled to be on staff for Annie! She is a vocal music education major at Millikin University where she is in multiple student and music organizations. She has been in numerous Muni performances including Les Miserables, Little Mermaid, and Mary Poppins. She has been a cast member in many shows in the Springfield area and is excited for her first time on staff, especially for Annie, having played the role of Annie in sixth grade at Cantrall Intermediate School and it being the first show she was in as an orphan at the Muni in 2010.

Stage Manager: Seth Wheeler
Seth served as Assistant Director for Mary Poppins, Apprentice Director for The Little Mermaid, and Stage Manager for Shrek the Musical and Les Miserables in previous Muni seasons. Long ago one might have found him on the Muni stage, faking his way through tap dances with Kevin Kulavic in Crazy for You or trying to pass as a Shark in West Side Story. While he likes being on stage and performing, he's going back to his comfort zone which is backstage, bossing people around and making sure that the audience gets a great show every night. During the day, Seth is the Facilities Manager at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. This will be Seth's eleventh consecutive summer at the Muni and he is excited to work on Annie with yet another amazing Directing team. It may be a hard-knock life, but not when you're doing what you love!   

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