Children’s Musical Theatre will be presenting “Annie” on July 20-23 on the main stage of the Bartlesville Community Center. Tickets are on sale through the Bartlesvillecommunitycenter.com or through the ticket office. Show times will be July 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23 at 3 p.m. There are two family passes available (2 adults, 2 students for $64 with fee) and one for four adults for $84 with fee. There is also a groups discount for adults and student groups larger than ten.
With equal measure of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everybody’s hearts, despite her next-to-nothing start in 1930’s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls from the orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. Follow Annie on her adventures in her new home of billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy. “Annie” is based on the comic strip by Harold Gray, and is a seven time Tony winner, including best musical, since the play came to be. With hits such as “Tomorrow,” it is a musical experience you must see to believe. The book and score both have many talented artists behind it, such as Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin. Annie is family-friendly show. For more information on the play, visit mtishows.com/Annie.
Sixty-six area students have been selected to fill out the cast list for the show. Cast members come from Bartlesville, Dewey, Copan, Barnsdall, Cleveland, Collinsville, and Independence. These kids represent public, private, and homeschooled student’s ages 7-17 years old. Rehearsals started in mid-June for a five-week daily rehearsal period. The young people will learn from the professional artistic staff to hone their skills in acting, dancing, and singing as they rehearse for five days a week.
The staff and crew of director, stage managers, designers, and musicians are both volunteers and professionals who work miracles using their talents to change the stage at the Bartlesville Community Center into a 1930’s bustling New York City.
Leading the professional artistic staff as Director for Annie will be Kathy Pingel. Until her retirement in 2015, freelance director, Kathy Pingel was the director of education at the Des Moines Community Playhouse for 10 years. She also served as artistic director of the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre. She holds a BA in theater from Eastern Michigan University, an MA from Northwestern University in performance studies, and an MA in teaching from Northwestern. At the Des Moines Playhouse, Pingel directed over 50 productions including Anne of Green Gables, Holes, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Cinderella, Biloxi Blues, Dinner with Friends, Lend Me a Tenor, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music.
Associate Director Marina Bergenstock received her MFA in directing at the University of Iowa in 2016. Originally from Pennsylvania, she was the artistic director of Cresson Lake Playhouse and taught theater/directed at Altoona Area High School. She has trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company during their monthlong training intensive in Saratoga Springs and was selected for and participated in the Kennedy Center Directing Lab in July 2014. She is an Emerging Professional Resident (EPR) at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre where she is assistant directing main stage productions. Bergenstock is excited to begin this adventure at CMT Bartlesville!
A Bartlesville native, Roberta Eberhard (Tupper), is once again honored to be back with Children’s Musical Theater as music director. Her previous productions with CMT were “Willy Wonka” and “Mary Poppins.” Before being hired as music director, Eberhard was part of the first two musicals that CMT produced. During the school year, Eberhard teaches music and drama at Rejoice Christian School in Owasso. Eberhard received a bachelor of arts in applied voice from Indiana Wesleyan University and a master of music in vocal performance from Arkansas State University.
Eric Geibel, choreographer, is a graduate of Oklahoma City University with a BPA in Dance Performance. Since graduating, he has performed at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, SeaWorld Park, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines, and most recently the Cinderella national tour. As aforementioned, Geibel trained and was selected to become a C5 Aerialist for Royal Caribbean and performed 60-80 feet in the air on the high seas (even when the ship was rocking). In between contracts, Geibel teaches masterclasses all over the country with his wife, Kelsey. He is extremely excited to be back in his hometown, and hopes to inspire the next generation of young performers to follow their dreams just like CMT showed him he could do.
Kelsey Geibel, choreographer, is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. She is a graduate of Oklahoma City University where she earned her bachelor of science degree in American dance pedagogy. She has been a dance instructor, choreographer, and master teacher all over the United States. Her choreography was featured at Broadway Dance Center’s Showcase in New York City. She lives in New York City with her husband, Eric, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to choreograph for CMT alongside her favorite dance partner.
Travis Dunlap, a Bartlesville native, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he attained both bachelor and naster of music degrees. After graduation, he lived two years in Southeast Asia working as an English teacher. Upon return to Bartlesville he opened a music studio, teaching piano and percussion. He plays percussion in the Bartlesville symphony and has traveled internationally playing in various honorary and goodwill ambassador orchestras. During his precollege years Dunlap was a cast member in three CMT productions and was a two-time Bartlesville Symphony Young Artist in both percussion and piano. He was the conductor in CMT’s 2015 production of Mary Poppins and the 2016 production of Beauty and the Beast. He is currently serving as a Representative in the State House of Representatives.
The Children’s Musical Theatre of Bartlesville was founded in the year 2000 with a mission to enrich the lives of area youth by giving them the opportunities to learn and grow in a safe and educational environment. Each summer, CMT produces a full-scale musical complete with quality vocal and live orchestra music, special effects, beautiful sets, period-appropriate costuming and props, and top notch character portrayals. With past productions such as Cinderella, Bye Bye Birdie, Sound of Music, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, High School Musical, Music Man, Oliver, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka, A Little Princess, and Mary Poppins, CMT continues to enrich the community with the most unique musical experience Bartlesville has to offer. There are no fees to audition for CMT’s summer main stage productions, and cast members are not charged any tuition fees to be a part of the program. Funding for the programs are generated through various fundraising activities, sponsorships, grants, community donations and support. Cast member families are expected to assist with fundraising activities, as well as helping with pre- and post-production activities and backstage during the show.
These opportunities would not be made possible without the help of amazing local organizations such as ConocoPhillips, P66, Bank of Oklahoma, Susan Dick Financial Services, QuikTrip Corp., American Heritage Bank, Musical Research Society, Truity Credit Union, Walmart Distribution Center, Musselman Abstract, Jane Phillips Society, Yard by Yard, and many more. Every year, several patrons, sponsors, and parent volunteers prove how much of an impact an active community can be on providing entertainment and education to our youth, while making a fun and unique experience for everybody at the same time.
For more information on the Children’s Musical Theatre of Bartlesville, visit cmtonstage.com, or call (918) 336-0558. And don’t forget to like and friend CMT on Facebook to keep up to date on all the newest productions at Children’s Musical Theatre of Bartlesville.
— Jan Watt, Children’s Musical Theatre