Beaufort Children's Theatre to present 'Annie JR.'

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comNovember 14, 2012 

Campbell Dukes, 11, who plays Annie, poses with Ollie the dog, who plays Sandy. The two will appear in "Annie Jr." at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts.

JAY KARR/STAFF PHOTO

  • WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 and 3 p.m. Nov. 18

    WHERE: University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort

    COST: Reserved seating: $20 adults, $12 students; General admission: $12 adults, $8 students.

    DETAILS: www.uscbcenterforthearts.com, 843-521-4145

Ask Campbell Dukes about her favorite musicals, actresses or her approach to acting, and the thoughtfulness and candor of her answers might surprise you.

Instead of the monosyllabic responses one might expect from an 11-year-old, Campbell is chatty, mature and has opinions on a variety of topics, including the quality of the music and writing of "Annie JR.," a Beaufort Children's Theatre production she will star in beginning Nov. 16.

"It's always been one of my favorite movies," Dukes said of John Huston's 1982 classic. "It's got really great music, it's really funny in certain parts and it's really well-written."

The show stars Campbell in the title role and runs through Nov. 18 at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts in Beaufort.

Given her naturally bright red hair, her precociousness and her dramatic flair, Campbell, a student at Beaufort Academy, seemed a no-brainer to be cast as Little Orphan Annie.

But she viewed the role as anything other than a foregone conclusion.

"I really wanted to be Annie, but I saw some of the other people who were going out for it and thought there was a chance I might not get Annie," she said. "And that would have been OK. I mean, you don't always get every part you go out for."

Campbell landed the part and will play one of pop culture's most famous orphans in a musical that mirrors the original, in which Annie finds adventure, a new home and a new family in New York City with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and their lovable mutt Sandy.

Campbell said acting alongside other children -- and the dog that will play Sandy -- has been an enjoyable change from the adult casts she has been a part of recently.

"All of my friends are in the show, and we really have a lot of fun," Campbell said. "When you're in a show with adults and you're the only kid, all of the attention is on you, and that's kind of fun, but socially it's a lot more fun to act with other kids."

Campbell also has starred in local productions of "Seussical," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and appeared in "Rachael's Play Date," a short film directed by Beaufort filmmakers Rob Lewis and Brandon Sligh that received multiple honors in the Savannah 48-Hour Film Project in September.

The daughter of Laura and Beaufort County Master-in-Equity Marvin Dukes, Campbell was bitten by the acting bug about four years ago but has always been a bit of a ham, her mother said.

"She's been dramatic her whole life," Laura Dukes said with a laugh. "It's great because you can tell it's really something she loves doing, and she has been getting a lot of great experience lately."

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Beaufort Children's Theatre's production of "Annie JR."

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBGPatrick.

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