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TYKEs' "Annie" 

The beloved orphan returns

"Tomorrow," today

Leapin' Lizards! Annie is back in town, brought to you by TYKEs (Theatre Young Kids Enjoy).

Who doesn't love rooting for everyone's favorite red-headed orphan? Ten-year-old Sierra Braden effortlessly captures Annie's plucky determination to escape her bleak existence and reunite with her long-lost parents.

"I love the songs!" enthuses my 10-year-old daughter. "Especially 'You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile' and 'Hard Knock Life.' I like how the orphans made fun of bossy Miss Hannigan. She deserved it!"

Sure, the show's entertaining. But set in 1933, with a special guest appearance by President Roosevelt, Annie also helps kids learn about history. If your kids are like mine, they think the Great Depression is what happens when the monthly credit card statement arrives.

Annie parallels current events, too. For example, Daddy Warbucks isn't the only millionaire in the market for an orphan. Just ask Madonna.

Directed and choreographed by Pamela Rapoza, the cast features 13 professional actors, 13 local girls, and two dogs. Six-year-old charmer Julia Cougle is Molly, the youngest orphan and my daughter's favorite: "I really, really liked that little girl, Molly. She was phenomenal! She has a good voice and she's really cute."

Performances at School of the Arts, 45 Prince Street, take place Saturday and Sunday, November 4 and 5, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The 11 a.m. show on November 4 will be interpreted for the hearing impaired. Heads up, home schoolers: additional performances Wednesday and Thursday, November 1 and 2, at 10 a.m. Ticket $10. Visit www.tykestheatre.org or call 723-6080.

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