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Just right for the role

With a smile on her face, Sailor Peterson, who is playing the role of Annie in the Andria Theatre's upcoming production of "Annie," listens as Oliver Warbucks, played by Allen Alvig, sings a song to her. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 1 / 2
Getting into their characters, the orphans of the Andria Theatre's upcoming production of Annie include, (back row, from left) Allie Trombley as Mary; Jeryn Drewes as Kate; Jordan Rymer as Pepper; Parker Zwach as Duffy; (front row, from left) Malorie Raether as Tessie; Lily Eken as Molly; Sailor Peterson as Annie; Abigail Nelson as June; and Roxanne Sweetwater as July. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 2 / 2

Although this is her first "big" production on stage, 11-year-old Sailor Peterson of Alexandria says she's been acting since she was 8.

The red-headed Peterson will be playing the role of Annie in the Andria Theatre's upcoming production of "Annie." The play opens this Thursday, Nov. 30, at the downtown theater. It runs through Dec. 10. Thursday through Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays are at 2 p.m.

When asked why she wanted to play the role of Annie, Peterson quickly quipped with a huge smile on her face, "Doesn't everyone want to be Annie?"

During auditions for "Annie," more than 50 girls tried out for all the parts.

"There were many talented girls to choose from but Sailor's spunky personality seemed to be exactly right for the role of Annie," Director Sharon Thalmann said. "Sailor has been a joy to work with. She's worked very hard and always takes direction to improve her performance. She is the heart of our play."

The sixth-grader at St. Mary's School has taken other roles in productions at the theater. "It's been fun so far and this is probably my favorite role I've ever played," she said.

She said her favorite songs are "It's a Hard Knock Life," and of course, "Tomorrow."

Thalmann is no stranger to the Andria Theatre and this production. She played the role of Miss Hannigan the last time "Annie" was at the Andria Theatre more than a decade ago when it was known as the Alexandria Area Arts Association.

As for directing a cast with more than 35 members, Thalmann said the key is communication and making sure everyone is on the same page. She also said that directing a musical, like "Annie," is a little bit different in that the characters learn the music and dance routines first. In addition, she said with musicals, the cast gets two more weeks of rehearsals.

"It's really magical to see it all come together in the end," she said.

So, which role does Thalmann like more — director or actor?

She said each one is very different and that it would be hard to choose because each one has its own perks.

She did note that with directing, she doesn't have to learn any lines.

"Directing and acting are both wonderful in their own ways," she said. "But I do like directing a lot. I can see the whole vision. I see it come together."

About the play

Based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, "Annie" has become a worldwide phenomenon and was the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The book and score by Tony Award winners, Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, features some of the greatest musical theatre hits ever written, including "Tomorrow."

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations — and even befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

She eventually finds a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

If you go

When: Nov. 30 - Dec. 3 and Dec. 7-10, Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.

Where: Andria Theatre, 618 Broadway St., Alexandria

Tickets: Go to or call the box office at 320-762-8300.


Annie — Sailor Peterson

Molly — Lily Eken

Pepper — Jordan Rymer

Duffy — Parker Zwach

July — Roxanne Sweetwater

Tessie — Malorie Raether

Kate — Jeryn Drewes

Mary — Allie Trombley

Jane — Abigail Nelson

Miss Hannigan — Cathy Snyder

Bundles McClosky, Howe — Nick Segaar

Rooster — Randy Martin

Lily St. Regis — Karmen Lemm

Grace Farrell — Paige Knorek

Drake — Jeff Roste

Cecille — Amara Henneman

Annette — Hannah Rinicker

Marie — Shayla Hollenbeck

Mrs. Greer — Kristi Greathouse

Mrs. Pugh — Ruth Blom

Manservant, Bert Healy — Jake Stone

Manservant, Eddie, Hull — Jon Provance

Oliver Warbucks — Allen Alvig

Bonnie Boylan — Sarenity Klein

Connie Boylan — Kathryn Tomoson

Ronnie Boylan, Usherette — Madeline Dudley

Suzy McCracken, Ensemble — Beth Odden

Lt. Ward, Morganthau, Announcer, Jimmy Johnson — Scott Giannone

Sound effects lady, Ensemble — Sarah Biver

Roosevelt — Chuck Grussing

Ickes, Ensemble — David Conover

Perkins, Sofie, Ensemble — Rachel Barduson

Judge Brandeis — John Thalmann

Apple seller — Pat Finnestad

Newspaper boy — Jonah Heidelberger

Street boy — Addison Randazzo

Star to be — Katy Robinson

Ensemble — Andree Brown, Dawn Houska, Emily Kaatz, Meagen Lindberg and Amelia Meier

Sandy — Eddie


Director — Sharon Thalmann

Assistant director/stage manager/props — Hilary Ninman

Assistant stage manager — Ailee Valazquez

Set design and construction — John Thalmann

Costumes — Janet Baker and Nancy Berns

Hair and makeup — Katelyn Niemeyer

Vocal director — Dedra Zwieg

Conductor — Mark Graf

Choreography — Jackie Noetzelman and Karmen Lemm

Lights and sound — Quincy Roers