‘Annie Jr.’ At Wellington Children’s Theatre

The Musical Theatre Workshop of the Wellington Children’s Theatre has been busy rehearsing for its upcoming production of the Broadway musical Annie Jr.

The production will run Sunday, April 21 and Friday through Sunday, April 26-28 at the Wellington High School theater (2101 Greenview Shores Blvd., Wellington).

The cast of 23 children began preparing for the show in January, first learning musical numbers and then blocking and choreographing the songs. The music of Annie is familiar to everyone. The original production opened on Broadway in 1977, followed by several film versions and Broadway revivals.

Thanks to the sewing skills and generosity of Kathleen Ostrov, whose daughter is playing the nasty Miss Hannigan, each of the orphans will be costumed in 1930s-style pinafores. There will be three different girls playing the part of Annie during different performances. The roles of Grace and Lily St. Regis have been double-cast.

Director Karen Braunstein is very enthusiastic about this production. “Our workshops begin with basic acting instruction,” she said. “The goal is to teach these children the importance of ‘being in the moment’ when onstage, focus, which is the basis of good acting, and connecting with the other characters. Those onstage relationships must be believable. Acting is not easy and takes dedication and work. Although the theater games and improv exercises are fun, they are also helping to teach these important concepts.”

Braunstein is quick to add that the cast is immensely talented, and that she can envision several of the children going on to pursue theater. “They have come so far in just three months,” she added.

Braunstein also credits her three Palm Beach Atlantic University interns, one a recent graduate, with being able to make this production a reality.

“They are so knowledgeable and organized,” she said. “Each of them has been a tremendous asset to this production. Michelle Santiago has stepped in to assist in rehearsals, as have Heather Hilend and Pat LoRicco, who is also our set designer and carpenter, and who is portraying the conniving Rooster Hannigan.”

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $12 for children, and may be purchased online at www.wellingtonchildrenstheatre.com or by calling (561) 223-1928.