By Annie Ellis

Everyone’s favorite little red-haired orphan and her adorable dog, Sandy, are heading to the Bama Theatre stage June 2-4, when The Actor’s Charitable Theatre (ACT) presents the musical “Annie.”

“Annie” is based on Harold Gray’s popular comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which premiered in the 1920s in the New York Daily News, becoming one of the most widely-read strips in the ‘30s and ‘40s. The original 1977 Broadway production of “Annie” ran at the Alvin Theatre (now renamed the Neil Simon Theatre) for 2,377 performances for nearly six years and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Choreography.

Although it’s set in 1933 New York City during the Great Depression, “Annie” is full of joy and laughter. Ever-optimistic Annie 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 Miss Hannigan. When Annie’s luck turns around with an invitation to spend the holidays with cranky billionaire Oliver Warbucks, she warms his heart. Warbucks offers a reward to anyone who can prove they are Annie’s parents, and Miss Hannigan, partnering with her con artist brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily, attempt to strike it rich with this unique situation. But in the end, Annie finds the family she always dreamed of with Daddy Warbucks, his secretary Grace Farrell, and her lovable pooch, Sandy.

The rags-to riches story of “Annie” is well-known – it has been translated into 28 languages, played in 34 different countries, and has been made into three movies (in 1982, 1999, and 2014). At least a dozen members of The ACT’s “Annie” cast and crew have been involved with past shows of “Annie.”

So, how does The ACT plan to make this “Annie” fresh and new?

“Although cheesy at times, it is a beautiful story,” said Joey Lay, The ACT’s artistic director, who has already been a part of four versions of “Annie” in his theater career. “I am going simplistic with the set to allow the beauty of the story to come through. And our show will feature innovative, new choreography that is unique to this production.”

According to choreographer Benji Stockton, who spent ten years performing in Atlanta with The Aurora Theatre and with Six Flags Over Georgia, it’s important to make things updated and tell the same story but in a fresh, new way.

“People either know the 1982 movie version, one of the many Broadway revivals (each a bit different in their own unique, creative way), the 1999 movie, or the 2014 movie (again, each one different),” Stockton said. “I wanted to give people something that they have not seen before, as far as choreography is concerned. I do give respectable nods to the original 1977 Broadway show, 1982 movie, 2012 revival, and even the 2014 movie version.”

Playing the title role of Annie is Caroline Gibson, a sixth grader at Echols Middle School, who has appeared in 12 other local theater productions since the age of eight. In addition to acting on stage, Caroline plays the piano, guitar, and ukulele, and is an accomplished vocalist who has competed in singing competitions across the Southeast.

Sandy, the stray mutt who becomes Annie’s faithful friend, will be played by Pharaoh, a four-year-old terrier mix, who, like Sandy, has her own successful adoption story: two years ago, she was adopted from the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter.

 

If You Go:

“Annie”

Bama Theatre

Friday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 3, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 4, 2:00 p.m.

Ticket prices:  Adult $20, Senior $18, Student $16, Kids $12

To order tickets:  TheACT.info or (205)393-2800; Enter this special discount code when you order online to receive $2 off each ticket:  Dcity

This week’s Druid City Living calendar is again packed with events and happenings in our area, so be sure and get out and enjoy when you can. Be sure to check  out The ACT’s production of “Annie” this week, and remember that Live at the Plaza is every Friday evening at Government Plaza. And, if you have any hazardous waste around the house or garage (including old paint, batteries, propane tanks, etc.) take it to the city’s annual disposal day on Saturday (details below).

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

This week’s Druid City Living calendar is again packed with events and happenings in our area, so be sure and get out and enjoy when you can. Happy Almost Memorial Day, everyone. It’s time to kick off summer in Tuscaloosa and Northport – where it’s certainly hot, but never ever dull.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

This week’s Druid City Living calendar is again jam-packed with events and happenings in our area, so be sure and get out and enjoy when you can. Enjoy the John Legend concert on Tuesday and hear some awesome live music at Live at the Plaza on Friday evening. And don’t forget the Tuscaloosa Kids Triathlon – go cheer for the kids at Lake Lurleen!

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

This week’s Druid City Living calendar is again jam-packed with events and happenings in our area, so be sure and get out and enjoy when you can. From the Youth for Christ Legacy Golf Challenge to the Chamber’s Business After Hours to Rumble on the River and the rescheduled Bark in the Park, there is truly something for everyone this week!

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

Wow, what a week for events in Tuscaloosa and Northport! This week, you’ve got a ton of great opportunities to get out and take in the best our area has to offer entertainment-wise. With no less than three (!) major concerts at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, “SecondStage” and Kentuck Art Night, it’s time to mark your calendars for fun. In addition, this week’s events also include the Mal Moore Memorial Golf Tournament and of course, another Live at the Plaza concert on Friday night. Have a blast, everyone!

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

The West Alabama Food and Wine Festival will host its 5th Annual event this Thursday, April 27, at Tuscaloosa RiverMarket to benefit the West Alabama Red Cross. The festival features small plates by 16 popular restaurants, including the highly anticipated Central Mesa created by the same owners as The Avenue Pub. A variety of wines will be available, and two local breweries will also be serving samples.

The City of Tuscaloosa will host the USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Club and High School National Championships on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 around the city. Top collegiate triathletes from across the country will be traveling to Tuscaloosa to compete in the race.

Due to this event, certain roads and areas will be closed.

The City of Tuscaloosa will host the 11th Annual Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup on Saturday  April 29. The Mayor’s Cup is a 5K and 10K race in support of the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. 

The race will start and end at Government Plaza behind City Hall. The route will go through downtown and cross through the Walk of Champions on the University of Alabama campus. 

Greetings, all. Here’s to yet another outstanding week of exciting events here in Tuscaloosa and Northport. This week, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy yourself.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.