Sunday, April 30, 2000

Tomorrow's today for 'Annie, jr.' star

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When Mary Collar was browsing through Cappel's a few years back and spotted a bright red wig that reminded her of Little Orphan Annie, little did she expect the adventure on which her family was about to embark.

        Her 5-year-old daughter, Caralyn, liked to play act around the house, so Mary put together a little Christmas package — the wig, a ragged dress, the video of the musical film Annie.

[photo] Caralyn Collar (Annie) and Molly Bolger (Sandy)
        “I watched it a million times,” remembers a happily reminiscent Caralyn. “I'd sit on the mantel and stare out the window and pretend I was looking at New York.”

        After studying the video a few thousand more times, Caralyn told her mom she wanted to take acting and singing lessons. She was enrolled in the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music prep department.

        Caralyn noticed that she needed dance lessons.

        In no time, she was starring in shows all over town, including Children's Theatre's The Secret Garden. She won an Emmy Award, for her role in Dooley, a PBS children's television pilot.

        Finally, at 11, Caralyn is getting to play the role she's waited her whole life to play. Children's Theatre is presenting Annie, jr., a condensed version of the Broadway show.

        It's everything Caralyn dreamed of.

        The Anderson Township youngster does admit to another goal. “I really like Katie Couric.”

        Luckily for Ms. Couric, Caralyn acknowledges “that's a few years down the line.” In the meantime, she's working hard at her favorite subject at Ayer Elementary, math, which will come in handy on those network contracts.

        If she had to do it all again, laughs Mary Collar, she would, “Absolutely. This has brought so much joy to our family and so much happiness to Caralyn.” Public performances Friday-next Sunday at the Taft Theatre. 562-4949.


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