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Perry Players kick off the holiday season with classic ‘Annie’

Christmas will start a little early this year on the Perry Players’ stage when it brings to life the favorite holiday classic, “Annie.”

With a cast of more than 40 people, this Broadway classic will showcase huge dance and musical numbers such as “Tomorrow,” “Little Girls,” and “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” according to the show’s director Hunter Hufnagel.

Set in 1930s New York, everyone’s favorite, red-headed orphan, Annie (Abbie Carr), longs to find her parents and is taken into the home of a New York billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Justin Carr) for Christmas. A scheme is hatched by Miss Hannigan (Carla Barwick) and her brother, Rooster (John Niederkorn), to kidnap Annie in an effort to extort money out of the billionaire. However, these plans are foiled, and Annie gets her happy ending.

“It’s about all of those characters: Annie, Oliver Warbucks and Miss Hannigan … it’s the story everybody knows and loves,” Hufnagel said. “It has a very, very strong Christmas vibe…the whole theater will be decorated like Christmas time in New York City. We’ve got some very neat things we’re doing with lighting and extravagant huge set pieces we hope everybody will enjoy.”

In addition to tons of costumes and set changes, Hufnagel said Justin Carr, who plays Oliver Warbucks, is a trained opera singer and is acting with his real-life daughter, Abbie Carr, who is playing the lead as Annie. Justin Carr performed in Les Miserables at the Grand Opera House in Macon with Theatre Macon in 2014.

“It’s been really neat watching them as father and daughter taking on the two lead roles,” Hufnagel said. “And we’ve got a lot of new faces taking on some of the other lead roles. We always love to get new talent in to enjoy putting on the show.”

Justin Carr said his daughter also played in “Les Miserable” with him, but that “Annie” is the first time he has been in a production with her as lead.

“This was just a good opportunity for us to be together on stage,” he said. “It doesn’t happen that much … especially both of us getting the leads in the play … it’s a good opportunity for us to be together in a play.”

Carr said “Annie” is his first musical with the Perry Players. He said Hufnagel is one of the best directors has worked with, and the talent of the whole cast is phenomenal.

Abbie Carr, 12, who plays the lead role of Annie, is a sixth-grader at Mossy Creek Middle School.

“It is kind of overwhelming … surprising ... because I didn’t think we would get lead roles together,” she said, adding that her favorite part is the song, “NYC.” It’s a musical number when Annie is discovering the city for the first time, having never been outside the orphanage, and she is overwhelmed by all the buildings and meeting new people.

“I think everybody in the cast does a great job of bringing these characters and stories to life,” Hufnagel said. “It’s a good show for everyone in the family.”

‘Annie’

Where: Perry Players Community Theatre, 909 Main St., Perry

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 17; there also will be matinees on Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17

Cost: $18 for students, active military and seniors; $20 regular admission

Information: 478-987-5354, www.perryplayers.org

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