By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – The McEllhiney family is full of heroes and villains – at least, in the theater.
Anna Kate McEllhiney plays the title role in the musical “Annie,” being staged by Corinth Theatre-Arts at Crossroads Playhouse next week. Her parents, Deanna and Michael, are starring in the same musical as two villains, Rooster and Lily, who are the minions of the evil Miss Hannigan, who runs Annie’s orphanage.
“It’s kind of funny playing a villain with your daughter. We’re kind of ruthless. It’s actually kind of tough,” Michael said. “We really weren’t planning on these roles, but we’re excited to help her out in her role.”
Anna Kate, 10, is a veteran of the stage, but these two roles are a first for her parents.
As for the young star, she’s having a blast as Annie, and she loves singing the big songs like “Tomorrow,” “Maybe” and “Hard Knock Life.”
“I’ve been making expressions and making my eyebrows jump up and down, and doing my arms. I’ve just been having fun. I’m making it my own,” she said.
Anna Kate said she’s especially excited to work with Henry, who plays her dog Sandy in the musical. Henry himself is an orphan, just like Sandy and Annie, and he was adopted before taking on his role as Sandy. Director Tyson Stephenson said Corinth Theatre-Arts is working with the Corinth Humane Society to raise pet adoption awareness during the play’s run.
Anna Kate said she’s taking Henry’s past to heart.
“It’s cool to have an orphan dog when you’re an orphan. It just makes you feel better to have someone to understand you and have a buddy beside you all the time,” she said.
Stephenson said it’s Annie and Sandy’s story is what makes the musical so special.
“I don’t see it as a musical comedy, but as a very touching play with music,” he said. “When Daddy Warbucks says, ‘Annie, I love you,’ and she looks at him and says, ‘I love you, too,’ and runs over to him and gives him a big hug, I just melt. I cry. It’s one of the most meaningful moments in theater.”
Check it out
WHAT: Corinth Theatre-Arts presents “Annie”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9-10, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Crossroads Playhouse
COST: $12/adults, $6/students