Mike Kelley

Prepare yourself this weekend for a real classic musical: Annie

Relive the epic journey of an inspiring New York City orphan from 1930s

You waited for her with baited breath, but alas the plucky and lovable orphan from New York City is coming to Sooke this weekend, thanks to the collective talent of the Sooke Harbour Players and their biggest show yet: Annie the Musical.

Eight shows, starting this Friday (Nov. 25) until December 4, featuring a talented cast and crew of more than 60 members, which will also feature Sandy the dog, along with multimedia screens that will put the audience in 1930s New York.

Making sure Sooke’s Annie will be one of the most memorable yet is stage director and Vancouver Island theatre legend Drew Kemp, who brings 55 years of professional theatre experience. Running into his third production of Annie, Kemp holds her story very close to heart.

“Annie is a story about a similar turmoil that we’re living in… it’s a show about family, love, giving selflessly, and hope in the world that poverty is not necessarily the end of everything, and that we can rise above it,” Kemp said, who played Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks at Theatre Under the Stars in Vancouver and once more in Victoria.

Every Annie production is different in its own way, Kemp added, and that the Sooke team is enthusiastic to put on a strong performance.

“This is a very big community show, as opposed to a smaller, semi-professional cast, and they’re bringing every bit of life and energy into it,” he said.

Maggie Martin, who plays Annie, said she was thrilled to get the role, as she was at first worried she’d outgrow the character.

“I know that I will get too tall and I won’t be able to play this little girl anymore, and right when I started wondering about that, came the opportunity to play Annie,” Martin said, who is now on her seventh musical and first musical with the Sooke Harbour Players.

Despite the challenges and long lines, Martin is fascinated by Annie’s character.

“Annie has two sides to her… she has this sweet little girl character most people know, but she’s also this tough street kid who knows how to take care of herself,” she said.

Taking on the role of Daddy Warbucks is Martin’s father, Eshu Martin, who is challenged with playing a character who goes from polar opposites of his personality from beginning to end of the story.

“It’s a challenge for me to play this sort of thawing of a man,” Martin said. “He starts off very harsh and kind of opaque, and not totally aware that there’s this romantic thing with Grace, and he starts to wake up a bit, and that’s because Annie starts to melt his heart.”

Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ secretary and love interest, is played by Gemma Claridge, who was excited to take part in Annie from the get-go.

“It’s cool to do the Broadway musical of Annie and not the movie, because it gives people a totally different perspective of what they may have seen from the movies,” she said.

Eight shows will be performed, starting this Friday (Nov. 25)until December 4, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m., and also Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20, available at Sooke Shoppers Drug Mart, The Stick in the Mud Coffee House, the EMCS program office, and online at victoriaticket.ca.