LONDONDERRY — The timeless tale of an adorable orphan, her canine companion and a reluctant millionaire will hit a local stage early next month.
On Nov. 8 and 9, members of the Kids Coop Theatre will perform the musical “Annie” at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry.
The Londonderry-based children’s theater troupe consists of 45 young actors, ranging in age from 8-18 from Derry, Hampstead, Merrimack, Londonderry, Windham, Bow, Manchester, Pelham, Atkinson and Dracut, Mass.
“Annie” is the story of a plucky orphan determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil plans and befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She finds a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell and a lovable mutt named Sandy.
Kids Coop spokeswoman Pam Rodgers said one of the musical’s biggest stars also happens to be a former “orphan.”
MiniMe, a poodle mix owned by Massachusetts residents Bob and Kathleen Sachs, was adopted from the Nevins Farm MSPCA two years ago and will star as Annie’s four-footed friend, Sandy, in the upcoming production.
“She’s actually played the role twice before,” Rodgers said. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Nevins Farm in honor of MiniMe, she said.
Ten-year-old Londonderry resident Emily Thomas said she was beyond excited to have earned the starring role.
“I loved the movie and my favorite part will be working with the real dog,” Thomas said.
Rehearsals have been challenging, but fortunately they have been spent among good friends. Many members of the Kids Coop are veteran performers who have starred together in dozens of area productions over the years.
“I had to learn a lot of lines, and that’s sometimes hard,” Thomas said. “But I love to sing, and I love how this theater is open to everyone. If you audition, you’ll get a part in the show.”
Making her choreographing debut is Megan Reid, a 17-year old junior at Londonderry High School.
Megan has been part of Kids Coop Theatre productions as a performer and stage crew for many years.
Another veteran Kids Coop member, Mackenzie Ozaroff, will play the role of crabby Ms. Hannigan. This show will be Ozaroff’s fifth show with the Kids Coop.
“I love playing her because she’s kind of a comic character that does a lot of slapstick and joking around,” the 14-year-old Derry resident said. “I’ve wanted to play this part since I was little.”
Danielle Kuhl, 15, of Hampstead will portray the character of Lily, a wisecracking villainess, in her debut Kids Coop performance.
“I am learning a lot about acting from some of the more experienced kids,” Kuhl said. “Lily is fun to play because she has a New Jersey accent.”
“Annie” will be performed Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 1 and 7 p.m. at the Derry Opera House, 29 West Broadway, Derry, NH. All tickets are $12 and are available at www.kids-coop-theatre.org.