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Play tells next chapter in Annies life
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Pam Ware summer theater presents "Annie Warbucks" starting Wednesday through July 18 at Gainesville High School's performing Arts Center (The Warehouse). From left are cast members Ashley Bell, Georgia Whitehead, John Melvin, Sherry Franklin, Doug Carter, Jody Cooley and John Girardeau.

‘Annie Warbucks'

What: Pam Ware Summer Community Theater sponsored by Gainesville Parks and Recreation
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through July 18
Where: Gainesville High's Ware House, 830 Century Place, Gainesville
How much: $15 adult, $10 children or seniors, tickets available at the Gainesville Civic Center
More info: 770-531-268

When the musical "Annie" comes to a close, Annie happily begins her life with Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks.

But did you know there's a sequel, where the life of Annie Warbucks takes a turn for the worse.

The production, starting Wednesday and performed by the Pam Ware Summer Community Theater, features Annie, played by Georgia Whitehead, and retired local attorney John Melvin as Daddy Warbucks.

"The commissioner of children's welfare in New York is a lady named Commissioner Doyle, and she has declared that Daddy Warbucks' adoption of Annie is illegal," Melvin said. "Because according to the laws of New York, which is not true, a single parent cannot adopt a child.

"Of course, Daddy Warbucks has adopted Annie and is thrilled with that. Once he learns that the adoption may be illegal the story line has to do with him trying to marry somebody so that he can keep Annie and the adoption will be legal."

At 11, Whitehead is a pleasure to see on stage, director Pam Ware said.

"The wonderful thing about this particular production is that it involves people of all ages and from all over our community and it's just a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful way to connect," Ware said. "She reminds me of Amy Mulkey (former Miss Georgia from Gainesville) who was the very first Annie."

Whitehead said she loves playing Annie because of the range of emotions.

"She likes to be excited, and she's sad; ... it's fun because I can incorporate myself into the character," said Whitehead, who began theater a little more than a year ago. "It's really fun but I don't think anything will ever match my first play."

Dying her blonde hair red was just part of the role - but not the hardest part, Whitehead said.

"The hardest part this year was the choreography."

Hall County Commissioner and local attorney Ashley Bell also stars in the musical as Simon Whitehead the attorney for Daddy Warbucks. Bell has been involved with theater since high school roles at Gainesville High and thought it would be fun to get involved again, he said.

"You can't get more community theater than being in a play in the summertime with your neighbors and folks you work with and do public service with," Bell said. "I wanted to get my daughter involved in theater because I thought how much it helped me. ... The deal was if she auditioned for ‘Suessical' I had to audition for ‘Annie Warbucks.' We auditioned together and that was an experience, being in front of Mrs. Ware auditioning with my daughter."

Whitehead, Bell and Melvin all agree the musical was challenging and fun, but most of all it was a great way to connect to the community that they live in every day.

"What I've come to realize is that summer theater in Gainesville is just as much a life in the city as Friday night lights at Bobby Gruhn," Bell said. "They are just as equally a part of life in the city."

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