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Your weekend: Annie at ACLO

Submitted by on 1, August 6, 2009 – 9:00 amNo Comment

n66262713576_7403The folks out at the Alameda Civic Light Opera were looking for a family-oriented show that mirrored important turning points in American history for their current season, and they decided that the Broadway classic “Annie,” which opens here Saturday night, fit the bill. Not a bad coincidence, though, that the show, which is set during the Great Depression, mirrors our sorry economic times (or that it offers us the happy ending that we all crave).

“That’s something that we and the cast discussed quite a bit, sort of the connection to a time period,” director Christina Lazo told me this week. “In times like this, you sort of need a feel-good show.”

“Annie” is the second show of ACLO’s season (“Hair” is next), and it marks the second appearance of Lazo as director of one of the company’s show. Its cast of 37 includes a number of local residents and also two families: Julia Franks, who plays the title character, shares the stage with her mom and sister; husband and wife Matt and Judy Beall are also in the show with daughter Jennifer.

The cast of 11 orphans includes 8-year-old Samantha Martin, who plays Molly, the youngest of the bunch. “She’s a bundle of energy. And she’s adorable on stage,” said Lazo, who added that this will be Samantha’s first adult production.

The cast also includes Scott Phillips as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, a role Lazo said he has played before. (Lazo herself has a long resume of directing children’s shows; her day job is as associate director of Musical Theatre Works, which operates out of the Randall Museum Theatre in San Francisco.)

“Annie” opens Saturday, and shows are at 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through August 23 at Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central Avenue. They’ve also got a show at 8 p.m. Friday, August 21. Tickets are $34, $30 for youths and seniors and are available online or by calling 864-2256 (and if you go on their website, you can check out the nifty preview video they put together for the show).

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