‘Annie’ opens at Geyer tonight
After a hit production of “The Sound of Music” this summer, the Rohlf family is at work again directing the ever-popular musical “Annie,” scheduled to hit the Geyer Performing Arts stage in Scottdale tonight through Sunday afternoon.
After attending an Actors and Artists of Fayette County board meeting, Michael Rohlf learned there was no major show scheduled for November and said he wanted to discuss maybe directing another show with his wife, Patricia Rohlf.
Once she agreed to the proposition, the duo began looking at lists of shows.
“Of course, ‘Annie’ started with ‘A,’ so it immediately came up, and Michael and I had both been involved with the show before so we knew it very well,” Patricia Rohlf said.
One of the aspects of the show is the fact there are several children required to play orphans.
“Both Michael and I love working with kids and training new thespians, so we said, ‘Let’s do it,'” Patricia Rohlf said.
Theater has become a passion for the duo, as well as their children.
While the two are directing the show, one daughter will play the lead role of Annie, the other will play Lily and has been a big part of choreographing the show.
“Michael and I met doing theater and I performed in three shows while pregnant with the kids,” Patricia Rohlf said. “Our children really don’t know anything different. Some families bowl together or go to sporting events — the Rohlfs do theater.”
As for the production, while the movie version of “Annie” starring Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan has become a huge hit over the years, Patricia Rohlf said the musical has a few differences.
“The movie has a lot of high action, such as Annie being chased by Rooster and Lily and put into dangerous situations, but that doesn’t happen in the stage version,” she said.
Also, the infamous Punjab is not mentioned in the stage version.
The Rohlfs said the cast for “Annie” is “wonderful.”
“They are so hard-working and enthusiastic,” Patricia Rohlf said. “Both Michael (Rohlf) and I have discussed how much we are enjoying this group of people.”
Some cast members have several shows under their belts, others are preparing to perform their first show.
“My orphans are younger than we have worked with in the past,” Patricia Rohlf said. “In fact,
about 80 percent of the orphans are ‘first time’ musical performers.”
Among the challenges to pull off a production like this is trying to get everyone together for all of the practices.
“When you do community theater during the school year, you have many more cast members having scheduling conflicts such as dance classes, football games, and a myriad of school activities, so scheduling rehearsals has been a challenge,” Patricia Rohlf said.
But, she’s excited to see the group of orphans blossom into “musical theater kids.”
“Annie is a fun show and I think the audience will enjoy seeing the enthusiasm and joy in the cast,” Patricia Rohlf said. “I love watching them during rehearsal, so I am sure that the audience will love watching, too.”
The conclusion of “Annie” is on Christmas day, so there will be a Christmas tree and hope for the future with the musical number, “A new Deal for Christmas.”
“It will be a perfect kickoff for the holiday season,” Patricia Rohlf said.
The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 each. For more information or to reserve tickets, call the theater at 724-887-0887 or visit the theater website at geyerpac.com .