'Annie' sings her heart out in Newnan

 Olivia Wernecke as Annie and Adagio Moore as Sandy. Photo/Special.

By Joan Doggrell

Fireman Rodney Scott made his first appearance on the NTC stage on December 5, opening night for “Annie,” which is “one of the most family friendly shows we’ve done in a long time,” said Artistic Director Tony Daniel.
“I was a tad nervous at first,” said Scott. “But the cast members knew it was going to be my first time in front of a live audience. They built up my confidence so that when I went out on stage, it was surreal, but confidence overcame nervousness. We had an awesome time.”

Daniel is thrilled that Fireman Scott chose to audition for “Annie.”
“He responded to our community outreach to the various public service groups in Newnan – the sheriff’s deputies, ambulance drivers, firemen, police. Some people feel that being on stage is outside of their comfort zone, but Scott wanted to try it. He’s learned basic dance steps, at least one song, and from what I’ve witnessed, he’s having a good time doing it. Who knows, we may have our own singing and dancing fire staff! “

Scott graduated from Newnan High, served in the military, and then came back to Newnan. “I’ve always been a part of Newnan,” he said. “When I signed up for the firefighter service I did it to help the community, not just to fight fire. I signed up to be a public figure. It’s part of what we firefighters do. At the same time, I’d had that acting bug ever since the seventh grade.”
“Another reason I got involved was for my two sons, both in the 10th grade. They play sports. I have a hard time trying to get them to venture out beyond sports. I figured if I joined this, it would let them see there are way more avenues for your creativity than just sports. The likelihood of your making it in the NBA or the NFL is very slim. You may find you have additional talents by joining other groups and finding out just where your creative niche is. If they see me doing this, maybe they’ll mimic what I’m doing. I’m trying to show them instead of just tell them.”
“The lead roles in “Annie” are all being played by people who have never been on the NTC stage before,” said Daniel. “Fireman Scott is an example. The entire cast is having a wonderful time. At the rehearsals there’s nothing but laughing and joking.”
“I love the fact that we’re not seeing the same people again and again. We hold ourselves to a high standard. We basically have a show a month, including summer. Not a lot of local theater groups want to push themselves that hard. The fact that people are coming from the north side of Atlanta to audition says something about the quality of the shows we’re doing. The actor playing Daddy Warbucks drives in from East Point and was willing to shave his head for the role.”

NTC also offers a Christmas show for grownups. “Every Christmas Story Ever Told - And Then Some!” is not as family-friendly as “Annie,” but it will appeal to the more cynical among us. If you think Christmas is too much about maxed-out credit cards, long lines at checkouts, zero parking spaces, and one too many renditions of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” this show is for you.
“It’s a satire of all the silliness that goes along with Christmas,” said Daniel. “Trying to get more lights on your house than your neighbor has on his, arguing about whether to believe in Father Christmas or St. Nicholas or which reindeer actually work and which ones stay at home. There’s nothing left untouched. The show spoofs all the Christmas TV specials and traditions: ‘Rudolph,’ ‘Charlie Brown,’ ‘Frosty the Snowman.’ There’s a whole routine about ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ There are even a bunch of gags about the Christmas tradition of hiding a pickle on the tree.”

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told - And Then Some!” is a three-man show starring Daniel Lees, Josh Hendricks, and Jason Alexander and directed by Justin Jessel.
“Three of these four are N.I.T.W.I.T.S. and therefore well -versed in improv,” said Daniel. “The script is open – the authors actually invite the performers to add material they may not have thought of. So – who knows what you’re going to get.”
The “Annie” cast appeared at Ashley Park on November 30 for the 4 p.m. Christmas tree lighting ceremony. They sang “Never Fully Dressed” and “Tomorrow” from the show. They also sang with the First Baptist Church Children’s Choir and joined the Southern Crescent dance team and the Georgia Academy of Dance.

“All we’re worried about now is finding enough space for the audience,” said Daniel. “We’re seeing 20-30 tickets sold a day.”
“Annie” is based on the beloved comic_strip “Little Orphan Annie.” The music was written by  Charles Strouse, the lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book (script) by  Thomas Meehan.
“Every Christmas Story Ever Told - And Then Some!” was written by John K. Alvarez.
“Annie” opened at Newnan Theatre Company on December 5 and runs through Sunday.
“Every Christmas Story Ever Told - And Then Some” starts the night after “Annie” closes (December 15) and runs for the whole week of the 16 through the 26-- every evening starting at 8 p.m., with a Saturday and Sunday 3 p.m. matinee.
Ticket prices are $8 for children, $12 for seniors and students, and $14 for adults.

To purchase tickets, visit Newnan Theatre Company's web site at www.newnantheatre.org or visit the box office before or after any performance. The theatre is located in historic downtown Newnan at 24 First Avenue.
“Annie” opened at Newnan Theatre Company on December 5 and ran through the following weekend. It will also run next weekend starting Thursday, December 12, 8:00 pm, and continuing Friday and Saturday evenings. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 15.
“Every Christmas Story Ever Told - And Then Some!” starts the night after “Annie” closes (December 15) and runs for the whole week – the 16th through the 26th -- every evening starting at 8:00 pm, with a Saturday and Sunday 3:00 pm matinee.
Ticket prices are $8 for children, $12 for seniors and students, and $14 for adults.
To purchase tickets, visit Newnan Theatre Company’s web site at http://www.newnantheatre.org or visit the box office before or after any performance. The theatre is located in historic downtown Newnan at 24 First Avenue.
If you have questions regarding the content of any show, email Artistic Director Tony Daniel at artistic-director@newnantheatre.org. 
Photo caption: Photo 1 -- Olivia Wernecke as Annie and Adagio Moore as Sandy

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