|Annie (Maryanna Lauter) and Molly (Hazel Ward) watch Miss Hannigan (Rachel Biber) take her "medicine"|
Whether she’s dreaming about the demise of “Little Girls” or scheming with her brother against Oliver Warbucks, there’s just something about Miss Hannigan that resonates with audiences. She plays the lady we love to hate and yet she is so good at being bad that you can almost sympathize with her at times … almost. For Rachel Biber of Huntington Woods, playing Miss Hannigan fulfills a lifelong dream: “I have wanted to do Annie since I first saw the movie with Carol Burnette. While my sisters were fighting about which one of them got to play Molly or Annie, there was no discussion... I was Miss Hannigan and that was that. This has been my dream role since I was 5 years old, and I am so thrilled to be here right now talking about this.”
Even though she is perfect for this role, it’s not easy being the bad girl sometimes. As Rachel says, “I think what I enjoy and the most challenging aspect are one and the same. Being a villain and being mean to those little girls is so much fun, but they are all so cute and I just adore them all. So as much fun as being allowed to yell ‘SHUT UP’ at a bunch of kids may seem, it can be very tough.” Annie involves some physical humor between Rachel and the orphans, and at rehearsal she’s always careful to make sure that no one gets hurt.
Despite Hannigan’s gruff exterior, Rachel is really a softie at heart, and has nothing but kind words for her cast mates: “Maryanna Lauter is wonderful as Annie, and is just such a great kid. I’ve known her since she was tiny, and it’s so fun seeing her grow into such a talented young lady. The cast is wonderful. All of the little girls are fantastic and so much fun to work with, and the grownups are great too. When I first heard Daniel Murray as Burt Healy start his bit and sing I was absolutely blown away. I also love getting to play off of talent like Brandon Mace (Rooster) and Elizabeth Bartz (Lilly). Every rehearsal is fun with them. We are always laughing.”
Rachel is dedicating this performance “to my sisters for being the Annie, Molly and Bundles in all of our living room performances of Annie so that I could always live the Hannigan dream, and to my mom for always being the world’s greatest audience member.”
Rachel has been involved with theater since she was 10. You may have seen her at the Barn in Barefoot in the Park (Corrie), Sweet Charity (Nikki), Gypsy (Louise), and most recently in Legally Blonde (Brooke Wyndham). Other favorites include RENT (Joanne), A Streetcar Named Desire (Stella), Wonder of the World (Cass), and Sordid Lives (Bitsy Mae Harding). Rachel and her husband Berry are proud parents of Caleb (age 9).