Davenport Junior Theatre is continuing to present shows for free, and its next is the musical “Annie Jr.,” opening this weekend in a 65-minute version.

Based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning best musical by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, “Annie Jr.” tells the story of a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents.

The orphans — including Annie (red hair, played by Mirabella Johnson) — in the Davenport Junior Theatre production.

Annie is a heartwarming show with an important message about finding family,” Kristin Meyer, Junior Theatre board president, said in a Wednesday release. “In the show, we see how a plucky little girl is able to make her way in a hard world. We think Annie’s adventure resonates for today in many ways.”

“Annie Jr.” follows the story of the titular orphan living a “hard-knock life” at the New York City Municipal Orphanage run by the washed-up Miss Hannigan. Annie dreams of being reunited with her parents and takes action to find them. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations, befriends President Franklin Roosevelt and finds a new family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

In the DJT production, there are 36 student actors, 7 student crew members, and four working front of the house, ages 10 to 18.

Mirabella Johnson plays Annie and Ewen Bauer is her adoptive father, Oliver Warbucks.

There is no dress code at Junior Theatre, 2822 Eastern Ave., Davenport, but the cast will remind you that you are “never fully dressed without a smile” (Hint: There’s a whole song about it in the show).

Founded in 1951, DJT is the nation’s second-oldest children’s theatre. Classes and camps are offered year-round in theatre and dance for students ages three to eighteen. Classes are as varied as acting, improvisation, musical theatre, and theatrical design. In the quickly-growing dance division – which is now in its 10th year – young dancers learn poise and confidence while having fun and making friends in a non-competitive dance environment.

Summers see a myriad of camps and other activities for kids of all ages.  Through all these opportunities, DJT prepares kids for a lifetime of success, no matter what path their lives may take. The schedule of “Annie” shows is as follows:

Performances:                                                                        

  • Saturday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.                              

Tickets are first-come, first-serve, no reservations needed. Admission is free for all. For more information, visit the DJT website.