Monday, July 13, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 19

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on December 10th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 41

Little Orphan Annie finds new home at Orcutt Community Theater


"You’ll stay up till this dump shines like the top of the Chrysler Building,” a six-year-old orphan, Molly (Stella Sarvis), sings during “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” mocking the harsh demands of Miss Hannigan (Diana Diaz), the matron of a 1930s New York orphanage.

Bet your bottom dollar
Orcutt Community Theater presents its production of Annie at Klein Dance Arts Studio through Sunday, Dec. 22. Performances are held every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The studio is located at 3564 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria. Visit for more info. Tickets are available in advance at

The cast of Orcutt Community Theater’s production of Annie includes Todd Buranen as Oliver Warbucks and Frida Vega as Annie.

As hyperbolic as the task might be, I think it’s safe to say the stars of Orcutt Community Theater’s Annie do shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. Based on Harold Gray’s comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, the iconic musical opens with its 11-year-old titular heroine (Frida Vega) comforting Molly after she wakes from a terrible dream. To get her mind off of the nightmare, Molly asks Annie if she can read her a note—the note Annie’s parents wrote when they left her at the orphanage as an infant. Annie fantasizes about what her parents might be doing at the moment, describing the possibilities in the show’s opening number, “Maybe.”

“Maybe far away/Or maybe real nearby/He may be pouring her coffee/She may be straightening his tie,” she sings. “Betcha they’re good/Why shouldn’t they be?/Their one mistake was giving up me.”

Orcutt Community Theater’s iteration of the song is the perfect introduction to Vega’s Annie, immediately showcasing why she was chosen for the role. But just around the corner is Diaz, who in turn delivers a perfectly malevolent Hannigan.

“Some women are dripping with diamonds/Some women are dripping with pearls/Lucky me! Lucky me!/Look at what I’m dripping with/Little girls!” Hannigan sings during her loving anthem to the orphanage’s inhabitants, “Little Girls.”

Much to Hannigan’s dismay, Annie—probably her least favorite orphan—is handpicked by secretary Grace Farrell (Ashley Brown) to be the guest of billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Todd Buranen) during the holiday season. When Annie arrives to the mansion, her first instinct is to start scrubbing the floors. But Farrell and the rest of Warbucks’ staff interject during my favorite number in the show, “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.”

“No finger will you lift my dear/We have but one request/Please put us to the test!” the crew of maids and butlers sing with the utmost enthusiasm.

Annie’s adorable, iconic dog, Sandy, is portrayed by Honey, whose real-life family adopted her from the Santa Maria Animal Shelter six years ago, according to the show’s production notes.

“I know I’m gonna like it here!” Annie declares.

When Warbucks arrives home from a trip, it seems at first as if the busy billionaire will barely have enough time to spend with his new temporary ward. But it’s obvious during “N.Y.C.” that he’s quickly becoming attached to Annie as a daughter. It’s during this number that Warbucks and Farrell take Annie on a night out to explore New York City.

Meanwhile, back at the orphanage, an evil plan is brewing. Hannigan and her devious brother, Daniel (Brian Kasicki), aka Rooster, and his equally slimy girlfriend, Lily St. Regis (Allanah Dizayee), share an epiphany after Warbucks initiates a nationwide manhunt to find Annie’s birth parents. A reward of $50,000 is promised to the couple should they come forward, an opportunity Rooster and St. Regis plan to seize, posing as Annie’s parents using an important piece of the puzzle the authentic pair left behind with Hannigan the night they left their baby girl at the orphanage.

“It ain’t fair how we scrounge for three or four bucks/While she gets Warbucks/The little brat!” the trio of villains sing during “Easy Street.” “Maybe she holds the key/That little lady/To gettin’ more bucks/Instead of less.”

Whether you’re familiar with the show or not, fans and viewers new to Annie alike can expect a unique experience from Orcutt Community Theater’s intimate production, with performances held at Klein Dance Arts Studio through Dec. 22.

Miss Hannigan (Diana Diaz); her brother, Daniel (Brian Kasicki), aka Rooster; and his girlfriend, Lily St. Regis (Allanah Dizayee), brew up a devious scheme.

For co-director Grace Kitchen, helming the show was a long-standing aspiration, she said in the production notes.

“Having the chance to direct Annie has been a dream to me,” Kitchen wrote in the notes. “I’m so thankful for this wonderful cast and crew for putting in all this hard work for this beautiful show.”

Although this isn’t co-director Noelle McGhee-Westbay’s first time directing a production of Annie, her experience was still fresh and exciting, she added in the notes.

“This is my second time directing Annie, and each time I forget what a beast of a show it is,” McGhee-Westbay said. “It feels dreamlike and is so incredibly touching. It’s the perfect show for the holiday season.” 

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood keeps thinking about Tomorrow. It’s only a day away at

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