Three Cheers for Annie Warbucks at YST!

Sequel to Annie hits all the right notes at Young Stars Theatre

PHOTO: courtesy of YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Ava Broneer as Annie and Leah Broneer as Sandy in Annie Warbucks at Young Stars Theatre

YST’s delightful Annie Warbucks alights at Fremont Centre Theatre to close out the summer with a bang! While most of us have had some exposure to the musical Annie, whether from seeing the musical or the film versions, most don’t realize there was a full scale Broadway sequel, Annie Warbucks, which picks up right where Annie leaves off.

A Christmas celebration is going on at Warbucks’ mansion when a New York City child welfare commissioner, Harriet Doyle, interrupts to inform Mr. Warbucks that, as a single man, his adoption of Annie is null and void unless he finds a wife within 60 days! Gutsy Eadan Franklin sinks her teeth into the role of Doyle with pure New York sass, grit and a powerhouse voice to match.

PHOTO: courtesy of YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Ava Broneer, center, with orphans l-r: Olympia Papadopolous, Grace Dennis, Kyla DeVilla, Julia Lerner, Harrison Tang and Leah Broneer sing Watch Out For The Other Woman in Annie Warbucks at YST

Of course everyone in the household, save for Warbucks, seems to realize that the perfect match is his secretary, Grace, played with passionate purpose and lovely comedic timing by Christina Amber. British Butler Drake, a hilarious Jack Wisinski, brings the house down singing That’s the Kind of Woman with the exuberant staff.

PHOTO: Courtesy of YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Aiden Martin as Daddy Younger Man in Annie Warbucks at YST

The always wonderful Aiden Martin is steady and endearing as Daddy Warbucks with a poignant moment when he sings Younger Man. J’Quinn McKenna is stunning and powerful in the show-stopping ballad But You Go On. Every single young thespian in this production is singing their hearts out, giving the audience reason to laugh, cry and cheer. The orphans are full of spunk, energy and cuteness on the highest level. Musical director, Gloria Bennett, knows how to get big sound from her little actors and the direction from Jack Bennett is crisp, funny and keeps the plot crackling along. Choreography from Mirai Booth-Ong is innovative, dynamic and really funny. I’m telling you, the laughter in the audience was hearty and genuine. Just try to resist these ragamuffins especially the two tiniest, Olympia Papadopolous, in a star turn and newcomer, Leah Broneer, as Annie’s loyal stray, Sandy.

PHOTO: Courtesy of YST | SouthPasadenan.com | YST company member J’Quinn McKenna sings a show-stopping But You Go On in Annie Warbucks

Which brings us to the feisty and fierce performance of Ava Broneer as Annie. Her voice is one hundred percent up to the task of the arduous role which has Broneer in just about every, single scene, and she brings an irresistible charm and vulnerability that has you rooting for her from start to finish. The entire cast is fantastic with a serious, determined Jason Hong delivering in the role of Simon Whitehead and the wonderful Marissa McLaughlin in a hysterical turn as both FDR and Miss Clark. Speaking of FDR, adults and history fans will adore all the historically accurate asides throughout the delightful, depression era script. The show is an absolute triumph with the strong ensemble bringing the comedy throughout, playing multiple roles; Maddie Nellis, Anastasia Papadopolous, Kyla DeVilla, Grace Dennis, Lauren Martin, Sean Quintero, Karl Quintero, Harrison Tang, Constantin Papadopolous, Aisling DeVilla, and Julie Lerner. Don’t miss this irresistible night of family entertainment brought to us by the intrepid thespians of Young Stars Theatre!

PHOTO: Courtesy of YST | SouthPasadenan.com | The cast of Annie Warbucks sing New Deal For Christmas on stage at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena

Now playing through August 20. Friday & Saturdays at 7p.m., Sundays at 1p.m. & 6p.m. at historic Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena. Visit www.youngstarstheatre.org for tickets, information and to get on their mailing list to be the first to hear about all upcoming auditions. Click the donate button to find out how to become an angel donor. YST is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and all donations are tax-deductible.

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Alisa Hayashida has been covering arts, culture, & events in the greater Pasadena Metro areas and Los Angeles Metro areas for the past six years. She is a valuable arts advocate in South Pasadena, with an extensive background in theater arts. Since graduating from UC Irvine, her work has taken her from Los Angeles to India, London, Paris and throughout Europe. She lives in South Pasadena with her husband and son and has been a devout South Pasadenan for the past 25 years.

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