Carmel Apprentice Theatre to show production of “Annie,” “Annie Warbucks”­ back-to-back


Tessa Collinson

THE SUN WILL COME OUT: Senior Lydia Rusin listens to advice from a consultant on how to match her makeup to the time period of “Annie” while an adult volunteer helps her put up her hair. Rusin said she decided to join the cast because there were not going to be cuts to the cast list.

Emily Carlisle

The Carmel Apprentice Theatre (CAT) draws together theater veterans coming to play a role of a lifetime, with apprentices curious to perform for the first time in their life. Fearless artists and shy apprentices will perform alongside each other to create great theatre, great community, and great fun—the mission statement of the CAT. Located in downtown Carmel in the Arts and Design District, the CAT is in its third year of production and produces one musical and one play each year. This year’s musical is a double-feature as the company is putting on “Annie” in conjunction with its lesser-known sequel “Annie Warbucks.” 

According to artistic director Lisa Williams, “Annie Warbucks” takes place five minutes after “Annie” finishes. After Annie is adopted by Daddy Warbucks, it is discovered that in order for the adoption to go through, Daddy Warbucks has to get married. The sequel follows the classic characters—Grace, Drake, Daddy Warbucks and Annie—as they search to find him a wife. “Annie Warbucks” is generally known significantly less in the world of theater; however, it was created by the same people around the same time as its classic prequel. Williams said no other theater company in the world has done the shows like this before. 

Tessa Collinson
Junior Ivy Nugent and Senior Lydia Rusin link their pinky fingers to match a song in the second act of “Annie” during rehearsal. The show will alternate between “Annie” and “Annie Warbucks” from Nov. 14 to Dec. 1.

“It’s never been done anywhere in the world in repertoire, so why not here? It was really exciting to bring the show here. Although the show has been done, its never been back-to-back with ‘Annie,’” Williams said. “So in total, we’ll have six shows of ‘Annie’ and six shows of ‘Annie Warbucks’ over three weekends. So an audience member could come on a Friday night and see ‘Annie’ then they could come back on Saturday and see ‘Annie Warbucks.’”  

Apart from this special production, the CAT operates in a way most theaters do not. There are no formal auditions; this allows people who may not have as much experience as others to give performing a shot. Ivy Nugent, an ensemble member in ‘Annie’ and junior, described the audition process as unique. 

Nugent said, “You just sign up; it’s like an online form and you basically just say how old you are, what roles you might be interested in and your experience level. Then they hold evaluations where everyone sings the song and does a few slides (sample readings of a script). The directors then place you in the role where they think you would be the best fit.”

Senior Lydia Rusin, another ensemble member in “Annie” with featured roles including dog catcher, one of the Boylan sisters, Perkins, elaborated on how the casting process works and said the CAT’s procedures are perfect for people who are newer to theater. 

Rusin said, “They limit the number of people who can sign up, but then there are no cuts. Everyone who signs up while it is available gets cast in the show, which is a big reason why I signed up.” 

With two shows being prepared and rehearsed at the same time, the rehearsal schedule is intense for the few actors who are in both shows. Williams said the rehearsals have proven challenging at times and tech week—the week where a studio adds all of the technical aspects such as costumes, lights and sound­—will have some very long days for those cast members. 

Williams said, “We let them know about the time commitment in the rehearsal schedule at evaluations before casting. We started this process in August, so it’s a very long time frame. We only have rehearsals maybe two to three times a week for each show.” 

Despite these complications, according to Nugent, the production is well on its way to being a success. With shows running until Dec. 1, both casts said they are preparing for a rewarding run that aims to entertain and engage audience members. 

While “Annie Warbucks” may not be as well-known, Rusin said she believes people will really enjoy the production regardless. 

Rusin said, “I really think people will like it because it is something new and different but it still ties back to a show many people know and love. 

Jackie Hur