South Pasadena’s resident youth theatre company, YST, kicks off their 2019-2020 season with a darling new production of Annie Jr. If you’ve never seen the show, this is a delightfully heartfelt show that’s fun for the whole family. We find little orphan Annie, the irrepressible redhead, living in a New York City orphanage under the thumb of a mean, opportunistic house mother, Miss Hannigan. All of the orphans dream of getting away and finding a real family of their own. As luck would have it, a local billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, has decided to “adopt” an orphan over the Christmas holiday and Annie is chosen. Things get complicated as they embark on a mission to find Annie’s long lost parents when imposters show up claiming that Annie is indeed their child. Even the FBI and the president get involved!
The two casts are equally talented and plucky with Riley Barone and Sophia Corral in the lead role of Annie. Riley is really coming into her own with this role having recently played a most hilarious Pinocchio in Shrek and Sophia was last seen tearing it up as donkey in the same show. They are both cute and feisty and will break your heart when they sing “Maybe”. Chewing up the scenery as Miss Hannigan are the big, bold voices of Sorsha Khitikian and Annie Sawran. Brayden Nguyen has grown from a sweet Horton in Seussical to now lending his charm to the fatherly character of Daddy Warbucks. If you follow YST, it’s fun to see these kids really grow their skills over time like longtime member Jack Wisinski who has been in dozens of shows and is now bringing his maturity and experience to the Oliver Warbucks role.
Warbuck’s assistant, Grace, is played by the lovely Phoebe Dickinson and the earnest Sophia Peineke. Stealing scenes and hearts are Hudson Barone and Lucas Almanzan Hunter as Hannigan’s wiley brother, Rooster while Ellia White and Veronica Koutsky are having a ball as Lily St. Regis. The trio of Rooster, Lily and Miss Hannigan are a hoot singing and dancing to “Easy Street”.
The orphans are irresistible and will have you singing “Hard Knock Life” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” for days! The orphans and ensemble are played by Inez Brennan, Olympia Papadopolous, Gwyneth Daley, Isabel Edwards, Kalea Hoshi, Kyla DeVilla, Maisy Shinick, Madeleine Moore, Fiona Pudi, Victoria Field, Amelia Girt, Aisling DeVilla, Luana Hoshi, Zoe Keller, Eliza Giles, Poppy Seidler, Hannah Walsh and Alexa Elizondo (as Drake), Clara Ceerla, Soren Khitikian, Amelie Gungor, Addison Bryan, Roza Zemla, ,Annika Del Mundo, Isabel Kim, Gianna Campillo-Clark and Kaya McLean as Sandy.
Annie Jr. now playing at Fremont Centre Theatre through October 27, 2019. 1000 Fremont Ave. (626) 269-3609. For tickets & info on upcoming shows and auditions go to www.YoungStarsTheatre.org