Random Lake summer theatre came back strong in its fifth year with a grand production of Annie. There was lots of home talent in this one, starting with the director. Peggy Strang, who made her stage debut in The Wizard of Oz, was involved in all subsequent shows, and president of the LPI board, took the role of director. Karen Christopherson was the vocal music director, while Melissa (Hemauer) Huber served as choreographer.
The story follows the loveable orphan, Annie, and her many adventures in America of the Great Depression. "As a first time director I found challenges at every corner," wrote Strang in her director notes. "I would need 20 pages to list everyone by name who has contributed to this show."
Emily Steen played the role of Annie, while her real life dad, Duane Steen, was Oliver Warbucks. Leslie Langan-Gluck portrayed the faithful Grace Farrell, and Rita Horstmeier was the evil Miss Hannigan. The 60+ cast included a host of orphans, cops, robbers, low lifes, high lifes, the shabby residents of a Hooverville, the high brow Warbucks mansion staff -- and even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (portrayed by Bob Deyo).
Backed by a 12-member pit orchestra, Annie returned Lakeshore Productions, Inc. to the tradition of Broadway musicals. Annie established the performance schedule still used by LPI today – and it proved to be very popular with the public.
As FDR stated in his 1933 inaugural address, "Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort …" Bet your bottom dollar that Annie gave a good shot of "thrill" to Lakeshore Productions, Inc.