'Annie' continues May 2-3 in Prosser

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerApril 24, 2014 

Daddy Warbucks (Richard Reuther of Richland) delights Annie (Alexis Atencio of Richland) and Grace (Kathlyn Wolfe of Sunnyside) with his description of "NYC" as they prepare to explore New York City on foot.

COURTESY CANDACE ANDREWS

Performing in the classic Broadway musical Annie is a dream role for several members of the Valley Theater Company.

Annie opens April 25 at the Princess Theatre in downtown Prosser. And the music is as engaging as the story itself.

Alexis Atencio is Annie, with Kimberly Starr as the beastly Miss Hannigan and Richard Reuther as Daddy Warbucks.

Annie's fellow orphans help her escape to the magical streets of New York City, where she befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and eventually finds a new home with billionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, his secretary Grace Farrell and an adorable pooch named Sandy.

Alexis, 11, of Richland, will capture the audience the minute she walks on stage, said Candace Andrews, with the theater company.

"Alexis has a fabulous voice and a ton of energy on stage," she said. "She's just delightful as Annie."

Starr didn't hesitate to take the role of the cruel orphanage director, Mrs. Agatha Hannigan.

"I have always wanted to play the role of Miss Hannigan," she said. "She's usually portrayed as mean, but I think she's really misunderstood."

For Reuther, the Warbucks role filled a spot on his bucket list.

"I have always wanted to do a show where I shaved my head, just once," he joked. "Warbucks fits that perfectly."

Reuther recommends Tri-Citians take a leisurely drive to Prosser for the musical.

"Tri-City residents should make an afternoon/evening out of it and drive out on the Old Inland Empire Highway from Benton City to see the show," Reuther said. "Unwind and see the fruit trees in bloom. It's fun for the whole family."

Starr also recommends Annie for everyone.

"Annie is a family-friendly community production, put on by people who are absolutely passionate about developing their characters and providing an exciting performance experience," she said.

Paul Brooks directs Annie, with Marlaine Mars as choreographer and Patricia Schlotfelt as music director. A five-piece ensemble provides the music for the show.

President Roosevelt is played by Terry Langley, Scott Waywell is Rooster and Naomi Alhadeff plays Lily.

And a golden Labrador retriever named Alia will play the role of the lovable dog Sandy. Alia is owned by Becky Cantu of Grandview.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. April 25-26, May 2-3. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

Ticket outlets are Sixth Street Art & Gift Gallery in downtown Prosser, Adventures Underground in Richland, Patnode's Hardware in Benton City, Safeway in Grandview and Melange in Sunnyside.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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