Breckenridge Backstage Theatre opens “Annie” on Friday

Playing the villainess Miss Hannigan, Lenore Giardina, right, and Ceaira Seiber, who landed the role of Annie, cross wills as they rehearse for Friday’s opening of the timeless classic “Annie,” presented at the Riverwalk Center by Breckenridge Backstage Theatre.
Eli Pace /

The cast of “Annie”

Following is a list of cast and production staff for Breckenridge Backstage Theatre’s performances of “Annie,” which opens Friday at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge

Director: Christopher Willard

Choreography: Abbey Austin

Music director: Simon Daum

Tracks: Donna Debreceni

Light Design: Sean Mallary

Costume Design: Britta Bowers

The cast

Annie: Ceaira Seiber

Oliver Warbucks: John B. Boss

Grace Farrell: Hannah Marie Harmon

Miss Hannigan: Lenore Giardina

Rooster Hannigan: Damon Guerrasio

Lily St. Regis: Abbey Austin

Drake: Jim Anderson

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Kirt Greenburg

The orphan principals: Mikaela Clark, Sophia Feller, Kaelin Love, Tessa Ramsay, Chanel Richmond and Joely Rupert.

Large ensemble : Alena, Brina and Lauretta Babich; Will Bentley; Ellie Browne; Jesse Busnardo; David Cope; Maggie Fisk; Gracie Giardina; Peyton and Riley Goosen; Ana Golgoon; Aida Guerra; Ian and Lisa Hans; Cathie Hill; Bridgette Hough; Isabella Imamura; Ellyn Lew; Ava Liebendorfer; Haven Leinweber; Gabby Magliocchetti; Saskia Martin-Williams; Zach Merriman; Julio Mora; Linna Mora; Kaydence Murphy; Anna Marie Murrell; Haley, Maddie and Randy Nations; Addison and Tara Olson; Hailey Pfeiffer; Levi Quandt; Laurie Rambaud; Dunie Righter; Talia Rupert; Natalie Scott; Ella Suchomski; Indira Tancheff; and Alice and Paige Wescott.

The musical opening Friday in Breckenridge might surprise some people as they see their doctor, teachers, neighbor, kid’s baseball teammates, or any number of other locals in a brand new limelight.

The timeless story of “Annie,” a spunky Depression-era orphan who melts a wealthy man’s heart, opens Friday with Breckenridge Backstage Theatre presenting a cast of seasoned professionals working alongside members of the community.

None other than 12-year-old Ceaira Seiber is playing Annie, the adorable orphan who’s searching for her parents and can carry a tune. When she landed the role, Seiber said she was so happy she laughed and cried at the same time.

“Oh man, it’s really exciting”, Seiber said. “(Annie) was like my childhood icon so it’s pretty amazing getting to play this role. It’s such a privilege.”

Previously, Seiber rocked the stage as Tomika Williams in Backstage Theatre’s “School of Rock” in spring 2017. It was the community theater group’s first all-youth, main-stage production.

Now, Backstage Theatre is preparing for another family show that’s being put on by a number of local families, in addition to veteran actors and actresses.

“The show in and of itself — the true heart of the show — is about family,” said Hannah Marie Harmon, who’s making her debut with Backstage Theatre as Grace Farrell, private secretary and love interest to Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks’.

Harmon sees her character as ambitious and driven, especially considering the few options women had for employment in the 1930s, the time in which the play is set. Farrell also serves to instigate Annie’s arrival into Warbucks’ life.

One of the pros, Harmon, who’s based in Denver, has been performing for more than five years after studying vocal performance and musical theatre at the University of Colorado.

In her newest role, Harmon not only plays Warbucks’ secretary, but said she gets to help people with different degrees of theater experience grow on stage and “be a part of something big.”

Warburks is the stern, self-made business man who’s somewhat blustery, quite full of himself and very, very rich. In the story, Warbucks’ parents died when he was young and he never had a child himself. After meeting Annie, however, the orphan strips away Warbucks’ tough exterior and he comes to love her like his own.

This series of performances marks Chicago guest artist John B. Boss’ fourth time portraying Warbucks. The last was about six years ago in St. Louis.

“I love it,” he said of Backstage Theatre mixing pros with locals. “There’s a lot of talent in Summit County.”

Featured in the play are a handful of families, including parents and their children. Even a dog named “Bob” found a part.

“And the dog is adorable,” Boss added. “He’s a baby, but he’s a big baby.”

Meanwhile, Lenore Giardina is playing the hilarious villainess Miss Hannigan, a conspiring caretaker of the orphanage whose devious plans keep getting foiled by Annie.

A local actress, Giardina is no stranger to Backstage Theatre. She has played a plethora of roles in various productions over the last six years, but this will be her first time sharing the stage with her 11-year-old daughter, Gracie, who’s in the youth ensemble.

“I get to be on stage with my daughter and it’s great,” Giardina said of the family connections, adding she thinks director Christopher Willard tried to cast as many families together as he could to build on the family theme.

With Seiber in the leading role, Backstage Theatre also thinks it has a great young actress playing Annie, too. Working with her, Boss has come to see Seiber as a natural on stage with great instincts.

“She has a beautiful voice and getting to work with her and seeing her grow in such a huge role is exciting for me as an actor,” he said, adding that the size of the cast is the biggest he’s ever worked with for a production of “Annie.”

Additionally, Boss thinks the audience will be pleasantly surprised to see how the theater has incorporated multi-media assets like projections into the play.

‘Annie’ is showing exclusively at the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., in Breckenridge. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday. The show continues at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 and 7 p.m. Sept. 1 with its final performance at 4 p.m. Sept. 2.

Tickets are $10-$35 or $40 for a family of four. Buy them by calling the BreckCreate box office at 970-547-3100 or going to

“Come out, see the show and be surprised by who you know that’s in the cast,” said Giardina. “The great thing about the show is it pulls the community together, and people who aren’t artists or actors get a taste of that life.”

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