From now until opening night on Nov. 15, the Livingston Post will be profiling cast and crew members of the Community Theatre of Howell’s production of “Annie.”
If the Community Theatre of Howell is putting on a musical, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see a member of the Johnson family involved.
In most cases, more than one.
The current CTH production of “Annie” is no exception, as four members of the family are involved. Mom Katie is the assistant director, while Sara (age 16) is playing one of the lead roles, Lily St. Regis; Erik (14) is on the backstage crew; and Karalynn (12) plays several roles, including Jenny Johnson and Cecile.
For the past four years, the Johnsons have been CTH fixtures.
“We first became involved with CTH in the fall of 2015 during ‘Mary Poppins,’ ” said Katie, who lives with husband Pete and the kids in Howell. “Both Sara and Karalynn were in the show and Katie was on the crew. Then the girls were in ‘Phantom Tollbooth,’ and Katie and Erik both were on the crew team. In 2016 the girls were in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Erik worked crew and Katie was part of the tech team.
“In the Winter the girls and Erik were in ‘Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark Kids,’ and Katie worked on the costuming team. In 2017, the girls were in J’oseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ Erik was on crew and I was the assistant producer, and that winter, Erik, Sara, and Karalynn all were in ‘James and the Giant Peach Jr.,’ I was the assistant producer and Pete was the lead set build. Last fall, the girls were in ‘The Little Mermaid,’ Erik was on crew and I was the assistant director. That winter, Erik, Sara and Karalynn were in ‘Singin’ in the Rain Jr.’ and I was the producer. We also have been involved with four CTH summer camps.”
Sara’s favorite roles were Cosmo Brown in “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.” and Ladhalord in “James and Giant Peach.” Karalynn’s favorites were Dora Bailey in “Signin’ in the Rain Jr.” and Tinkerbell in “Beauty and the Beast.” Erik’s favorite role was being part of the tap ensemble in Singin’ In The Rain Jr.”
As for what they love most about the group, “I enjoy making new friends and being a part of the CTH family,” Katie said. “We laugh together, cry together, and are always there for one another. I enjoy helping the new families with questions and concerns.”
“I love to dance in the shows and playing different types of characters, like Lily and Flotsam,” Sara said. “I really like to scare people and make them laugh.”
“I like making new friends and I like when the show all comes together in the end,” Karalynn said.
As for Erik, “I like hanging out with my CTH friends.”
“Annie” is the beloved Broadway classic based on the story of Little Orphan Annie. The musical tells the Depression-era tale of how Annie breaks away from the evil orphanage master Miss Hannigan, and how she wins the heart of the ultra-rich Daddy Warbucks. The songs include “Hard Knock Life” and the classic “Tomorrow.”
It’s a show the entire family has cherished for years.
“I’ve loved Annie since I was five years old,” Katie said. “This show is wonderful. We have an amazing cast that has put all they have into this show.”
Sara said she’s met some awesome new people in this cast, and Karalynn likes that she is a part of a classic Broadway show.
As Lily St. Regis, the over-the-top girlfriend of the criminal Rooster, Sara is enjoying sinking her teeth into the role. “It really challenges my acting ability, it lets me be silly, and I also get to use a New Jersey accent,” she said.
And from the first number to the last, all four Johnsons say the audience will love the show.
“The audience will be blown away by this show,” Katie said. “The musical numbers are extraordinary, and the orphans will steal the audiences’ hearts.”
“The audience can expect hours of smiles,” Karalynn said.
The Community Theatre of Howell is presenting “Annie” at the Howell High School Freshman Campus, 1400 W. Grand River Ave., Howell. Shows are Nov. 15-17 and 22-24, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday each weekend.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, available at Finding Roots in Howell, Maria’s School of Dance in Fowlerville, Big Acre in Brighton, and Ed Bock Feed and Seed in Pinckney. Tickets are also available by calling 517-545-1290, or online at cththeatre.org. You can buy tickets by clicking here.