By Abigail Amato
Annie, the classic story of newly found family and second chances, makes its Flat Rock Playhouse debut on the Mainstage from June 9 through July 2. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the original Broadway production of the musical. And in a special partnership, the Blue Ridge Humane Society (BRHS) will spotlight some furry friends looking for their own new families.
The performance will feature Carly Gendell, a 12-year-old actress with an extensive background in theater, including a Broadway performance as Marcy in School of Rock the Musical. This will be her fourth time acting in a production of Annie and her second time in the title role.
“I am so excited to have the chance to play Annie again,” she says. “I love everything about her! She is spunky, courageous and optimistic, no matter what!”
She will share the stage with the dog, ”Sandy,” from the recent Broadway production and national tour. “It’s my favorite part of the show,” says Gendell, a selfproclaimed dog lover, “singing Tomorrow and playing with a great dog on stage. What could be better?”
Blue Ridge Humane Society staff and volunteers hope the idea of second chances inspires audience members to consider an adoption of their own. Animals will be available in the parking lot at Saturday matinees (June 10, 17 and 24 and July 1). Anyone wanting to give a pet a home will be asked to fill out an application to place a hold on their new friend and to return to BRHS the next day to complete the process.
This is not the first time that BRHS has brought animals to Flat Rock Playhouse. The two organizations partnered at Mutts Gone Nuts! in February. Four shelter animals were able to find homes then and the producers of Annie hope for even more adoptions this time.
“I see many wonderful things in my job,” says Lutrelle O’Cain, BRHS executive director, “but none so sweet or that means more to me than watching one of our animals leave the shelter with his or her new family. They actually seem to lift their heads a little higher as they leave the shelter. They know something wonderful has just happened to them. It’s magical.”
To reserve tickets, visit flatrockplayhouse.org or call 828.693.0731. For information about Blue Ridge Humane Society donations or adoptions, visit blueridgehumane.org.