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What Happens Tomorrow?

find out in CVTG's musical sequel Annie Warbucks

Marcus Downs, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A HARD KNOCK HANDSHAKE. Sophie McCutchean, center, stars as everybody’s favorite red-headed orphan in the musical sequel Annie Warbucks.
A HARD KNOCK HANDSHAKE. Sophie McCutchean, center, stars as everybody’s favorite red-headed orphan in the musical sequel Annie Warbucks.

Did you ever wonder what happened after little orphan Annie got adopted? Find out at Annie Warbucks, which is coming to the State Theatre courtesy of the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild. This is sequel to the hit Broadway musical turned Hollywood blockbuster picks up right where the film Annie left off. What happened then? Did Daddy Warbucks ever get married? Much like the film and the original musical, the show is a family-friendly story of hope amid the Great Depression. Audiences will recognize the familiar characters of Daddy, Annie, and her dog, Sandy. But there are new characters (and villains), too.

It’s Christmas morning, 1933 as Annie and Daddy Warbucks celebrating their new beginnings with the closing number from Annie. It’s then when they receive a visit from Child Welfare Commissioner (and evil villain) Harriet Doyle. She informs them that orphans can only be adopted by families and because Daddy Warbucks is not married, Annie will have to go back to the orphanage. Not to be deterred, Daddy sets out to find himself a bride. We follow him as meets one woman after another. But love is hard to find. Ultimately, Daddy concludes he might not marry for love but will do so nonetheless for Annie’s sake. Meanwhile, Annie and the girls learn Harriet Doyle’s child welfare order is a ruse and her true designs are to rob Daddy of his fortune.

“These are the sort of tunes you’ll be humming after you leave the theater. But I think people will also be surprised how much they laugh.”– director Michele Langhough on the musical Annie Warbucks

With so much going wrong, Annie decides the best thing to do is run away. She feels she is the cause of her new family’s troubles. It takes Daddy Warbucks, his assistant Grace Farrell, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and a nationwide search to bring Annie home.

Long-time assistant director Michele Langhough is leading her first production as head director and is loving it. “People have no idea what goes into being a director,” she says with a laugh. “As a director you have a hand in everything, so it can be a little overwhelming.” But Michele is more than up for the challenge. She’s had her eye on Annie Warbucks for years and feels well prepared.

Of course, there will be plenty of music. “These are the sort of tunes you’ll be humming after you leave the theater. But I think people will also be surprised how much they laugh,” adds Michele. And she has an excellent cast to back it up. At the helm are experienced adult actors, including Bob Sessions as Daddy Warbucks. But Michele tells us to not underestimate the girls, particularly Sophie McCutchean, who plays the title character. To these girls, the story takes on special meaning. Carrie Bodenberg who plays Ella says of her character, “She is spunky but has a good heart and loves her family.”

Michele says that nothing brings her more joy as a director than to give direction and see the girls following it at the next rehearsal. For this she thanks the parents who have been “amazingly supportive.” Like them, Michele can’t wait to sit back and see the girls and the show come to life. (For great pictures of the cast and crew, visit the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild on Facebook.)

Annie Warbucks, presented by the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild • June 26-28, 7:30pm • June 29, 1:30pm • State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire • adults $20, seniors $18, students $10, youth $8 • (715) 832-7529 • www.cvtg.org