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Toby’s Dinner Theatre Annie

By • Nov 30th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Annie
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Through January 8th, 2012
2:45 with intermission
$51-$56/$36.50 Children
Reviewed November 27th, 2011

There is nothing quite like a production of Annie. It warms the heart and just leaves you feeling optimistic about the world. In the midst of a depression, living in a dirty orphanage with not so much as a coat, somehow Annie believes that everything will be better tomorrow. And, sure enough, tomorrow ends up better than she could have possibly imagined. Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s production is no exception. It is filled with joy, laughter, heart-warming moments, and delights audiences.

The cast was led by Maya Brettell as Annie. She had a lovely voice and was able to move from realistic torments of emotion to delightful and spunky with ease. Playing opposite, as Warbucks, was David Bosley-Reynolds. He looked the part perfectly, had a nice voice, and had a charming charisma that made the sometimes gruff Warbucks into a truly likeable character. Heather Marie Beck (Grace Farrell) also did a good job at showing emotion beneath a composed veneer.

The real delight of the show, however, was Tina DeSimone (Mrs. Hannigan). DeSimone had an incredible voice that was still powerful and perfectly on pitch while she embellished with the squeals that made the character. Her acting was impeccable as she would dance right up to the line of overacting but still knew right where to hold back and show restraint to keep things real. DeSimone also did a nice job of choreographing the show, keeping each number true to expectations but fresh for the production.

Another gem in the cast was Deb Buonaccorsi (Lily). She created an entertaining character with a lot of subtle nuances. Her other half, Rooster, was played by Matthew Schleigh. Schleigh was clearly enjoying his turn at playing a villain. The rest of adult ensemble was very talented as well, shining in several small bits, especially when playing the members of FDR’s cabinet. Alan Hoffman, as FDR, did a great job of mimicking the vocal infections of the president.

Another very impressive performance came from Sadie Herman (Molly). She was full of energy and life and was delightfully comic. Very good performances were also given by Madelyn Schloss (Tessie), Lily Discepolo (Pepper), Camille McDermott (July), and Caitlin McDermott (Duffy). The girls handled the choreography with ease and sparkling smiles and showed professionalism at even their young ages.

David A. Hopkins did an especially nice job with the scenic design. He kept it simple and yet beautiful. The set was easily able to change from one location to another as the action kept moving on stage, often spotted by his lighting design. It was an especially nice touch when the principals came out into the audience during “NYC” and lights were used to create the illusion of the city skyline. The other production elements, sound, costumes, and props were all very well done and really gave the production an air of professionalism.

In this busy holiday season, January 8th might come faster than you know, and you do not want to miss this production. It is a perfectly delightful reminder of everything wonderful about this time of the year and an absolute must-see.

Cast:

  • Annie: Maya Brettell*, Adalia Jimenez
  • Warbucks: David Bosley-Reynolds
  • Grace Farrell: Heather Marie Beck
  • Molly: Sadie Herman*, Lily Ulman
  • Kate: Susanna Hoffman*, Natalya Jimenez
  • Tessie: Madelyn Schloss*, Maddie Ulman
  • Pepper: Lily Discepolo*, Hunter Lubawski
  • July: Cristen Hall, Camille McDermott*
  • Duffy: Grace Dillon, Caitlin McDermott*
  • Drake: Andrew Horn
  • Mrs. Pugh: Victoria Winter
  • Miss Hannigan: Tina DeSimone
  • Rooster: Matthew Schleigh
  • Lily St. Regis: Deb Buonaccorsi
  • Bert Healy/Bundles: Dan Sonntag
  • Star To Be: Katie Heidbreder
  • Boylan Sisters: Erin Donovan, Katie Heidbreder, Sarah Manna
  • FDR: Alan Hoffman
  • Ensemble: Erin Donovan, Matthew Greenfeld, Katie Heidbreder, Sarah Manna, Chris Rudy, Dan Van Why

* Appearing the night that this was reviewed.

    Production Staff:

  • Director: Shawn Kettering
  • Music Director: Douglas Lawler
  • Choreographer: Tina DeSimone
  • Costume Designer: Janine Sunday
  • Scenic/Lighting Designer: David A. Hopkins
  • Costume Designer: Samn Huffer
  • Costume Assistant: Susan Thornton
  • Sound Designer: Corey Brown
  • Production Manager: Vickie S. Johnson
  • Production Stage Manager: Sarah Splaine
  • Master Carpenter: David A. Hopkins
  • Set Construction: David A. Hopkins, Corey Brown, Russell Sunday, Sarah Splaine, Jimmy Engelkemier
  • Properties: Amy Kaplan
  • Stage Manager: Sarah Splaine
  • Light Board Operator: Kelly Martin, Melvina Coker
  • Sound Operators: Corey Brown, Melvina Coker
  • Crew: Jason Sowers, Scean Flowers, Vicky Mahoney

Orchestra:

  • Piano/Sinfonia/Conductor: Douglas Lawler or Cedric D. Lyles
  • Clarinet/Saxophone: Stacey Antoine, Steve Haaser, or Charlene McDaniel

Disclaimer: Toby’s Dinner Theater provided three complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

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