New theater company features local performers in ‘Annie’
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Region – A new theater company is preparing its first major production with a cast of 26 performers from 14 communities including Hudson, Marlborough, Southborough, and Westborough. They’re rehearsing in Sterling; the show will be staged in Worcester; and the theater group was co-founded by Kelly and John Bubello of Leominster.
“We’re a gypsy company,” said Kelly, who is also directing the show. “Were a big, happy family, just travelling around.”
Crescendo Theatre Company will present “Annie: the Musical” for four performances: Friday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 18, at 1 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. at the Sullivan Auditorium at Worcester State University. The venue seats 1,100 patrons.
“We wanted to go really big for our first production,” Kelly said. “It’s centrally located for our actors who come from all different areas. And it’s also centrally located for people who want to go see the show.”
Kelly and John have each frequently worked with the Hudson-based River’s Edge Players (REP) and the Westborough Players’ Club (WPC), and so have some of this show’s cast. In the upcoming production of “Annie,” John is reprising the role of the billionaire businessman, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, after playing him last winter with WPC. Kelly assistant directed and choreographed that production.
There’s another reason why Kelly wanted to revisit this musical.
“While growing up, ‘Annie’ was a musical that was very close to my heart,” she explained. “My grandmother used to play the music and act out the different characters. She passed away in August, so I wanted to do this show in memory of her love of life and theater.”
For the lead role of the optimistic orphan, Annie, Kelly cast Isabella Binici, 11, of Westborough.
“Isabella is a little star,” she said. “The audience is definitely going to fall in love with her.”
Playing the faithful secretary, Grace Farrell, is Katie Long of Southborough. She’s a teacher at Faye School, where she has directed musicals.
“Katie definitely has the look of the [1930s] era; she’s a classic beauty,” Kelly said. “Her positive attitude gets the rest of the adult ensemble together. She steps up and leads them.”
Some ensemble performers are portraying several characters, which Kelly feels they’re accomplishing successfully.
“There aren’t many people who can pull off playing multiple roles and they definitely can,” she said. “I truly believe the audience isn’t going to be able to tell they’re seeing someone from a previous scene, which is the height of perfecting the craft of acting.”
Among the performers playing multiple roles is Sarah Worrest of Hudson, who has directed numerous productions with REP for several years.
“Having been directed by Sarah, this is an interesting circle that I’m now directing her,” Kelly noted. “Anyone who knows Sarah as a director should check out this show because she’s definitely hitting the stage hard as an actress. She’s stellar all the way around.”
Jodi Schoolcraft of Marlborough is also portraying several roles, including a favorite one for Kelly.
“My favorite part in the show is when Jodi plays Frances Perkins on the President Franklin Roosevelt Cabinet,” Kelly shared.
Serving as musical director is Jeff Kimball of Westborough, who has worked with WPC.
“Jeff is great with both the adults and the kids,” Kelly said. “It’s a good relationship between him and the cast. We have a small ensemble, so everyone is really singing out as much as possible to fill the whole auditorium.”
To order tickets online, visit crescendotheatrecompany.com. For questions, call the box office at 508-762-8957. Tickets will also be available at the door.
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