Arts and Entertainment

Orangeville Music Theatre presents classic play: Annie Jr. 

January 12, 2023   ·   1 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Directing for Orangeville Music Theatre (OMT), Cathy Broom, told us there are 22 young people from seven to 15 in the cast of Annie jr., opening at the Opera House tomorrow (Jan. 13).

“We encourage masking for the kids and the audience, hand washing for the kids. If they’re sick, please stay away; paying attention to basic wellness,” she told us. “We’ve kept to the core of the story; about finding family, Daddy Warbucks going from a solitary person to making a family with Annie and Grace.”

There are five performances of the show, Jan. 13, 14 and 15 and next weekend Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20 and 21.

This is the third time Ms. Broom’s directing for OMT. She started to direct the adult production of Grease in 2021 but it was shut down by Covid, as was an attempt to produce Mary Poppins jr. As with nearly everyone involved in community theatre, Ms. Broom has worn many hats, “Before directing, I was doing stage managing.”

Although her youthful activity in theatre was limited to the Drama Club in high school when her four-year-old daughter showed she needed an outlet for all that energy, “We found OMT and she loved it.”

Since Ms. Bloom works in education with special needs students, she reckons she has “developed a lot of patience. I am able to adjust to the needs of the actor,” she said. “Having worked with children with various communications abilities.” 

As usual, this OMT production is being staged at the Opera House.

“We are in the theatre now,” she told us, “after the break over Christmas. The kids obviously rehearsed and reviewed their material during the break because they’ve come back really knowing their parts.”

For the first time, about half of the kids are new to OMT this season. This week’s rehearsal saw them for the first time on stage.

Said Cathy Broom, “Seeing their smiles and how happy they are to be on stage was really wonderful.”

And calling the “parent volunteers, the unsung heroes” of the production, who are dealing with the numbers of kids, keeping them from bundling backstage means the costumes are all in order and everything is very organized backstage.”

Her history with OMT is “just about 10 years.”

What keeps her at it is, “I love seeing everything come together – the cast, the audience. Theatre and art bring so much happiness to people, especially the kids. The youngest actor is seven and then up to 15.”

The older performers mentor the younger ones, going over their lines with them and helping them learn the songs; helping to guide them.

“It’s been amazing to watch” was her comment.

Ms. Broom’s own youngest daughter is in the production and her husband helps with sets and the more labouring aspects of putting a show together. Their middle child and oldest work backstage as well.

She had praise for the organization: “OMT is so accessible to the kids, the way to get them involved and it’s so inclusive.”

And for the benefits of acting for a young person, “The experience of expressing themselves in many ways; to put on a costume and be someone else can really bring them out of themselves,” she remarked. 

Outside of theatre, both her two daughters play soccer at ages 13 and 16. Ms. Broom is involved with that too.

As for Annie, a story that is told over and over, her judgement was, “It is iconically optimistic. All those pieces of finding yourself and family; that bit of Christmas in it that people love. There’s the element of a scare but it all works out in the end.”

The world has been so heavy, as Ms. Broom observed and they wanted something optimistic.

“We wanted to bring something to Orangeville that would just make people feel good. Tickets sales are doing well.”

For reasons to be sure to come, “These kids are amazingly talented,” she assured us. “Beautiful, young but so talented, beautiful voices. The choreographer has done a great job. Some of them have never danced but [are] up there and putting their whole self into this, they are wonderful.

“To me it’s about the kids and the joy they’re spreading up there. It’s just infectious.

Obviously, I’ve spent my life with the kids but there are a lot of brand new kids and new families. They are incredibly supportive, new parents working backstage and doing props; they helped bringing the sets in.” 

She has been told by some of those new parents, “My daughter / son has really enjoyed this – thanks so much.”

The cost is low with a membership, plus purchasing 10 tickets “to give to grandparents or friends.”

On Cathy Broom’s part, she is hoping to continue with OMT “as long as I’m able. I love the people, the atmosphere.”

For tickets and more information, go to

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Chuck Heron says:

    The last sentence should end with “” (not fesival).


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