MCHS Theater Club performs “Annie Jr.” on Friday and Saturday

The cast and crew of Annie Jr. pose for a group photo following a dress rehearsal on Wednesday. (A Lynchburg Times Photo)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — She’s everyone’s favorite redhead and she’ll be taking center stage this weekend in Lynchburg. The Moore County High School Theater Club will perform Annie Jr. on Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 6 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Lynchburg Elementary Auditorium.

Based on the popular comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, by Harold Gray, the play follows the story of Annie (Iris Brown) who is living in 1930s New York City. She’s determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago but things don’t work out the way she planned. She’s constantly being thwarted by Miss Hannigan (Jazz Suarez), who runs the orphanage. But eventually, Annie outsmarts Miss Hannigan and finds a new home with the kind billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Kaden Dial) and his personal secretary, Grace Farrell (Sarah Huffman).

The Times got a sneak preview on Wednesday and here are somethings to watch for if you go:

1 | Iris Brown completely embodies the precocious nature of 11 year old Annie from her curly red hair to her laced bobby socks. Not only do we expect her to give a knock out vocal performance but also some of her off-script ad libs will be sure to entertain.

2 | Jazz Suarez will give a Miss Hannigan performance that would make Carol Burnett proud. Like Burnett — who played Hannigan in the 1982 film version of Annie — Suarez possesses outstanding comedic timing and a naturally effervescent personality.

3 | Speaking of comedic timing, the chemistry between Kaden Dial as Daddy Warbucks and Sarah Huffman as his secretary Grace Farrell just works. He’s the smart-as-a-whip yet kind of oblivious billionaire and she’s his long-suffering Girl Friday. They play off each other in a way that’s easy to watch.

4 | If there’s a scene stealer in the play, it’s got to be Brantley Guinn as Rooster Hannigan. He’s a natural performer who seems very comfortable on stage. He and his Lily (Reily Cross) project much of the same mischievousness as Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters did in the film version. Their performance of Easy Street is easily one of the best moments of the musical.

5 | One of the surprise highlights of the play is the performance of Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile by the orphan ensemble. Their combined vocals really sell the scene.

6 | Honorable mention in the scene stealing department goes to Sayan Patel as Daddy Warbuck’s butler Drake. His lines may be few but his facial expressions and body language often keep you distracted from the main action. We wish he’d come with thought bubbles.

7 | Another scene stealing honorable mention goes to Aaron Gentry’s President Roosevelt. We’re not sure how he channels the New Deal President but it’s oddly satisfying.

Brooklyn Turner directed the play for the MCHS Theater Club. Based on her commanding presence at dress rehearsal, we expect her to keep everyone on their mark in perfect time.

The complete cast list is as follow:


Annie — Iris Brown

Oliver Warbucks – Kaden Dial

Grace Farrell — Sarah Huffman

Miss Hannigan — Jazz Suarez


Rooster Hannigan, Apple Seller, and Bert Healy — Brantley Guinn

Lilly, Duffy (understudy) — Reily Cross

Molly — Cassie Beddingfield

Kate, Annette, Cop — Karissa Sanders

Tessie, Mrs. Pugh, Policeman — Maddie Thomas

Pepper, Mrs. Greer — Alyssa McKinney

July, Star-to-be — Lilly Mashe

Duffy, Usherette — Dayce Stone

Bundles, Announcer, Sandy — Tyler Lumbley

Drake, Sound Effects Man — Sayan Patel

Cecille, Orphan — Sarah Perry

Chauffer, Dogcatcher, Louis Howe — Juan Del Pilar

President Roosevelt — Aaron Gentry

Officer Ward, Usherette (understudy) — Rebecca Hill

Stagehands — Rebecca Hill, Michael Estepp-Littleton, Raby McNatt, Mackenzie Perkins, Nathan Sanford, and Deacon Turner

According to the cast, there will be a limited number of tickets available for each performance. In fact, the Friday night performance is already sold out. Tickets can be purchased in advance from Moore County High School or any MCHS Theater Club member or at the door. Tickets will be $7 each. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We tells the stories of local folks here in Lynchburg as well as those happening across Tennessee and the American South that we believe may be of interest to our readers. Like what we’re doing? You can support us for just $5 per month by following this link.}