‘Annie’ debuts Friday night

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Abrams theater plans 8 performances of popular musical

The story of a spunky little girl who knows the sun will come out tomorrow has delighted audiences from Broadway to the silver screen, and now she’s coming to the Byng Community Theatre in Abrams starting Friday night.

The musical “Annie” is the first 2017 production of Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc., whose mission is to bring family friendly plays and musicals to the community. The show will run for eight performances, at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 9.

“When we were planning this season, we chose ‘optimism’ as the theme for 2017, and what a perfect show for that theme rolling out of the gate,” said Allie Carlson, production coordinator for the troupe.

Based on the comic strip that debuted in 1924 and ran in newspapers for 86 years, “Annie” tells the story of a little orphaned girl who is determined to find her parents who left her at the orphanage years ago.

Though things don’t quite work out the way she has planned, she does manage to thwart the plans of the evil Miss Hannigan and find a new family with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his secretary Grace Farrell, and her lovable pooch.

Carlson said the final decision to pick who will play the title character was one of the hardest they’ve ever had.

“A couple of years ago when we did ‘The Sound of Music,’ it was the first show we did with a lot of kids, and we found we had an excellent, excellent group of little girls so we knew we could find Annie and the orphans,” she said. “We did two days of auditions and then some callbacks and ended up with three girls to choose from.”

With a cast of 27, this is the biggest musical Abrams Spotlight Production has ever done.

“It poses challenges because we have a very small theater space, but it’s also a positive to have so many people able to be involved,” Carlson said.

Because “Annie” is a familiar and popular show, she urged people to get reserve tickets so they are not turned away if they come hoping to buy tickets that night or day.

Tickets are adults (18-64) $14, senior (65+) and youth (5-17) $12, and children 4 and under $7. For information, call the box office at 920-826-5852.

This is the first of four productions planned this year, including Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” and the organization’s first-ever PG-13 production, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

“It’s a very, very funny show,” Carlson said. “We want to see how the audience likes it. It’s geared toward a younger (adult) audience based on some of the feedback we’ve received.”

The final show of the year is a yet-to-be-announced Christmas production.