Miller plans musical 'Little Orphan Annie'

COURTESY PHOTOS Above: Miss Hannigan, played by Suzy Keck, is shown with the cast of orphans appearing next weekend in the Broadway musical production of “Orphan Annie.” Other youth cast as orphans include, from left, Allie Gibson, Grace Hofer, Alana Howard, Sara Jessen, Keck, Audrey Hopkins, Aubrey DeHaai, Maya Howard and Avaya Carlson. Those are the girls. The play will be presented Oct. 16-17 at the Miller High School Theater. Below: 1) Virgil Whetsel, who plays Bert Healy the radio announcer and Erik Ames, cast as Jimmy Johnson, radio’s only masked announcer and Drake the butler, rehearse for the upcoming Miller Area Prairie Players musical, “Orphan Annie.” 2) The Boylin Sisters, who sing on the radio, include, from left, Kelly Van Vuuren, Maggie Daum and Theresa Whetsel.

The Miller Area Prairie Players are planning to present the Broadway musical, “Little Orphan Annie,” Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 17, at 2 and 7 p.m., at the Miller High School Theater.

The musical is directed by Megan Hopkins, who is assisted by Michele Wieseler and Sarah Dehaai.

“We haven’t had musical theater in Miller for years, I would venture to say decades,” said Wieseler. “This was a neat thing to actually do. We have a wide range of ages involved — we have a first grader in it and we have somebody that’s over 65. There have been opportunities to connect and develop relationships.”

There are 20-plus cast members who have been dedicated to giving their time and talent to prepare and rehearse for this musical production.

“They are becoming experts at saying ‘The show must go on,’ ‘It’s a hard-knock life,’ and ‘The sun will come out tomorrow!’” Wieseler said. “The very idea of this production was conceived in wanting in some way to bring our community together and connect with each other in ways that hadn’t been available in quite some time.

“An even bigger reason for deciding to wake up the performing arts in Miller was to demonstrate the commitment in honoring the life of a very special person,” she added.  “This years production is being dedicated to the memory of Carson Miner, a performing artist who left us far too soon.”

Carson, who passed away last year, was the son of Tom and Cecilee Miner of Miller. Tom Miner works at Huron Regional Medical Center.

The theater troupe has also raising money, and that along with money from ticket sales will be used to help support the performing arts in Miller. The Miner family will be involved in deciding the best use of the funds.

“The tone of the musical is one of optimism and hope,” Wieseler said. “It is the hope that this message is heard loud and clear and continues to follow the performers and audience long after the musical ends.”

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COURTESY PHOTOS Above: Miss Hannigan, played by Suzy Keck, is shown with the cast of orphans appearing next weekend in the Broadway musical production of “Orphan Annie.” Other youth cast as orphans include, from left, Allie Gibson, Grace Hofer, Alana Howard, Sara Jessen, Keck, Audrey Hopkins, Aubrey DeHaai, Maya Howard and Avaya Carlson. Those are the girls. The play will be presented Oct. 16-17 at the Miller High School Theater. Below: 1) Virgil Whetsel, who plays Bert Healy the radio announcer and Erik Ames, cast as Jimmy Johnson, radio’s only masked announcer and Drake the butler, rehearse for the upcoming Miller Area Prairie Players musical, “Orphan Annie.” 2) The Boylin Sisters, who sing on the radio, include, from left, Kelly Van Vuuren, Maggie Daum and Theresa Whetsel.

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