On opening night of the Saskatoon Summer Players Annie, as Dale McMaster’s syrupy voice breaks into the first few bars of ‘Maybe,’ I feel my skin tingle. Maybe syrupy isn’t the right word, rather honey with notes of wild flowers. It immediately strikes me that the voice coming from this striking but petite little lady can so effortlessly fill every corner of the venue. “That’s Annie!” my daughter whispers excitedly, and I can tell that in her own way she’s as moved as I am.
For the next two hours, the Saskatoon Summer Players weave a spell from the tapestry of this classic underdog tale, and we are willingly enchanted. The group numbers are lively, delightfully chaotic, and noisy. They breathe life into the performance while the solos and smaller group pieces bring soul and develop characters we come to love (and love to hate) over the course of the performance.
Having grown up on the 1980’s movie production of Annie, I have a soft spot for the mercurial but lovable and, well, shouty, Oliver Warbucks. In Shaun Stevenson, casting nailed this persona. The fatherly chemistry between him and Annie, whose performance might win an Oscar in my books, completely made the experience. For my daughter, a sucker for anything irresistibly adorable, Molly, played on this night by Stephanie Siba, stole the show.
Not having a performance bone in my entire body, what stayed with me as we walked back to the car was the complete professionalism of the Saskatoon Summer Players. From the raucous crew of orphans and the haughty Miss Hannigan to Sandy’s expert dog handlers and the production crew, Annie was seamless, moving, and heart-warming from curtains’ rise to the orchestra’s last note.
*** An additional performance of this sold-out show has been added on July 8th at 7:30pm. Get your tickets TODAY! ***
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