Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 20, 2013

The Biz presents 'Annie Jr.'


Hendricks County Flyer

---- — Based on the popular comic strip, “Annie Jr.” tells the story of a little orphan, who is the voice of hope for her fellow orphans. She ends up in the lap of luxury with Depression-era billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

Performances are 7 p.m. Nov. 22-23 and 29-30 and 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at Harmony Baptist Church, 5697 Broyles Road, Avon. Tickets are $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for youth 16 and younger. Tickets are sold at the door and all seating is general admission. Doors will open for seating at 6:30 p.m.

Unlike most of the other children at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage, spunky Annie believes that her parents are still alive and will someday return to claim her. One day the dingy orphanage is visited by the sophisticated Grace Farrell (Jess Hornaday), personal secretary to Oliver Warbucks, (Luke Marble.) In order to improve his image, Grace brings Annie to the Warbucks estate for a week-long holiday visit.

Annie quickly wins the hearts of servants and the billionaire alike. So when Mr. Warbucks offers to adopt her, she asks the most powerful man in America to help find her real mom and dad instead. Warbucks’ whopping reward for Annie’s parents attracts the attention of con artists Rooster (Jack Lindner), Lily (Teagan O’Meara), and the wicked Miss Hannigan (Jayda Coursey), who hatch a plot to kidnap Annie and take the $50,000 reward. But don’t fret: This classic family musical has a happy ending for Annie, Daddy Warbucks, and the whole gang.

“Annie Jr.” features a cast of 61, mainly from Hendricks County, with an age range of 5 to 18. A golden retriever named Jasmine is making its stage debut. The title character, Annie, is being played by Bailey Harmon, a fifth-grade student at Newbie Elementary in Speedway. When asked how she felt about the opportunity to play Annie, she said, “It’s amazing! I am so excited to be Annie, and the feeling of being on stage with my amazing cast is just so cool.”

Jeff Van Paris, the director and choreographer, is delighted to be directing this show again.

“‘Annie’ is a show that has been special to my family for 17 years,” he said. “My daughter played the title role several times, and this is my sixth ‘Annie’ production that I have been either in, directed, or choreographed. It is a joy to be able to share this experience with so many talented and enthusiastic kids and parents.”

This is The Biz’s sixth youth production since they opened their doors in August 2012 at Avon. The Biz offers theater-related classes in singing, acting, and dance, as well as offering the opportunity for area youth to experience live theater, in a welcoming, safe, and educational setting.