A sweet young red-headed orphan by the name of Annie sang her way into the hearts of many at the Byham Theater’s production of Annie. This particular show was performed by the Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Richard E. Rauh Conservatory and CAPA, Pittsburgh’s performing arts high school. The students of CAPA made up the orchestra and the majority of the actors with a few others from schools in the surrounding area.

Annie is about an eleven-year-old girl in 1933 New York City who was left on the doorstep of an orphanage with only a locket and a note from her parents saying that they would be back. Annie believes that one day her parents will come back for her. She slowly begins to give up hope as she and the others are forced to clean the floors and walls by the tyrannical Ms. Hannigan who runs the orphanage. That is until Christmas time, and Annie has the fantastic opportunity to spend two weeks with the multi-billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

The show began beautifully with an overture performed by CAPA’s orchestra featuring snippets of each of the show’s songs. Each note was hit accordingly, and the sound filled the theater. Anticipation grew as the band played the chorus of “Tomorrow.”

Ilyssa Bails, who played the main character of Annie, continuously sent the audience into an uproar of applause after every song that she performed. Bails had a terrific voice that belted outwards each time she sang. Her performance displayed the utmost of emotion throughout and hit each hilarious moment spot on.

The only adult actor in this production of Annie was Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, played by Brady David Patsy. He displayed the actual embodiment of a powerful, wealthy man who was trying to come to terms with having a young girl who had a different outlook on life in his home. Patsy carried a strong voice both musically and speaking-wise while adding to the character of Warbucks by exaggerating his grand gestures.

Charlotte Bush, who played Ms. Hannigan, was spot-on for her role. Bush made it clear that Ms. Hannigan did not want little orphan girls chasing her around all day. Bush had the audience laughing with her portrayal of  Hannigan’s inability to dance. Her singing was also fantastic as she was able to drag out the words while keeping her voice strong and steady.

The one minor hiccup within Annie was at times when there was a group of people on stage the microphones for some were either not on or were malfunctioning. (These actors would have to almost shout for the audience to hear them since the problem was never corrected during the scene.)

Everyone in this production of Annie did a fantastic job with developing their characters and their unique personalities. This show will take you back in time into the heart of New York City as you watch Annie help others along the way.

Sadly Annie‘s run was only for this one weekend, but you can see the Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s next performance, Disney’s Newsies, at the Byham Theater from May 2-5 and 10-12. Tickets range from $9.75 to $55.25 and can be purchased online at https://trustarts.org/production/59919 or at the box office.

Emily Koscinski is a recent graduate from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. Along with Pittsburgh in the Round her articles have been featured in Midland Today, Beaver County Times, Observer-Reporter, and on the Lincoln Park website. Emily also has her own photography business where her photos have been shown at Robert Morris University and on the Lincoln Park website.

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