Pasay City, PHILIPPINES — The classic Strouse-Charnin musical “Annie” closed its gala night performance to a standing ovation at a packed Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila (RWM) on Friday, October 7.
After the first successful staging in the country in 1980 with no less than Lea Salonga playing the title role, ANNIE rekindles its love affair with Filipino audiences while charming new generations with its inspirational story about a charismatic orphan’s optimistic outlook in life against all odds.
Playing the role of Annie are Krystal Brimner, 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival best child actress winner for her role in the indie film “Honor Thy Father”, and Isabeli Araneta Elizalde, a newcomer hailing from one of the entertainment industry’s more prominent families, who both bested hundreds of other hopefuls auditioning for the role.
Also included in the cast in the roles of orphans are Maria Francesca Rojas and Precious Lainey Galvez as Annie’s best friend Molly; Chrysse Jilliane Jover and Maria Ericka Peralejo as the shy Kate; Shanti Leialoha Gleason and Gwyneth Jearei Dorado as the quiet July; Natalia Victoria Escaño and Alba Berenguer-Testa as the crybaby Tessie; Cydel Virie Gabutero and Atascha Chloe Mercado as the bossy Pepper; and Stephanie Ginger Karganilla and Sofia Jade Wong as oldest orphan Duffy.
Joining the kids for the main roles are award-winning actor Michael De Mesa who will play the wealthy Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, the first lady of Philippine theater Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Ms. Agatha Hannigan, Jill Peña as Secretary Grace Farrell, Mako Alonso and Red Concepcion alternating as the conniving Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan, Justine Peña as Lily St. Regis, and James Paolelli as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“Impressive performances aside, the set and design were fabulous,“ said multi-awarded theater actress Joanna Ampil who was one of the first to see the show. “I think today’s youth will learn a lot of things, like the love for music and production value just by coming to the show,” she added.
With the positive reception for “Annie”, RWM’s commitment to revive Philippine theater is on track as it continues to champion Filipino talent. “On a broad perspective, the challenge is how do we take ANNIE’s story and make it relevant to today’s audiences,” says director Michael Stuart Williams who is also the creative director of RWM’s production outfit Full House Theater Company. “There is something quite universal about it which is why ANNIE is fast becoming a modern day classic,” he added.
“Annie” stages every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until December 4, 2016. Tickets are now available at the RWM Box Office ant TicketWorld outlets. Visit www.rwmanila.com for more on “Annie”.