Madeline Day stars as fiesty orphan Annie in Teen Musical Theater of Oregon's production of the award-winning musical.

Dreams can — and do — come true

Annie's irrepressible optimism is as contagious as her curls are cute. The spunky, little orphan, played by 13-year-old Madeline Day, will serve up a hearty helping of holiday cheer in Teen Musical Theater of Oregon's production of "Annie."

"She (Day) is a confident young woman with a great voice and a great attitude that transferred really well to Annie, who has this great optimism which triumphs over the cynicism of the day," says director and choreographer Jaese Lecuyer.

"The character of Annie reminds us that dreams can and do come true."

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 5-6, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

A cast of 52, ages 10 to 18, will appear in TMTO's production of the Tony Award-winning musical, which is based on the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip and first opened on Broadway in 1977.

The show will feature 16 heartwarming numbers, including "Tomorrow," "I Don't Need Anything But You" and "Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," and it comes with an extra dose of "awww," as the role of billionaire Daddy Warbucks is played by Day's father, Brian Day.

Lecuyer says he expanded many of the numbers to make room for the large cast. Nonetheless, the story, set during the Great Depression, is as most will remember.

"It's the story of an orphan who is searching for her parents," Lecuyer says. "She is eternally optimistic and hopeful for a better day beyond her current reality. She tries to escape the orphanage but is unsuccessful. Fortunately, Grace Farrell (played by Kelsey Tidball), who is the personal assistant of billionaire Warbucks, comes to the orphanage looking for an orphan ... and chooses Annie to come to the mansion. Annie with all her charm and spunk wins over this billionaire's heart."

Over the course of the musical, Warbucks begins a search for Annie's parents, promising $50,000 to the anonymous couple; Annie meets a disheartened Franklin D. Roosevelt (Reid Arthur), an encounter that later prompts the New Deal; and Rooster (Isaac Cosand) and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis (Alyssa Monning) solicit help from the down-on-life Miss Hannigan (Tori Anderson), who runs the orphanage, to cheat Warbucks out of his money.

"And they almost get away with it," Lecuyer adds.

Lecuyer, who has a background in physical theater and dance, has directed and choreographed productions for Phoenix and Eagle Point high schools and assisted Cailey McCandless with TMTO's production of "Tarzan."

Vocal direction is by Tamara Marston; sets of the orphanage, Hannigan's office, a shanty town and the mansion are by Doug Ham; lighting design is by Brad Nelson; costumes are by Sue Quackenbush; and hair and makeup are by Meghan DeAngelo.

Tickets cost $20, $10 for those 18 and younger, and are available at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford, and www.craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000.

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