Leapin’ Lizards! Englewood Middle School students will present “Annie Junior” at 7 p.m. on April 16 and April 17, in the school theater at 300 …
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Leapin’ Lizards! Englewood Middle School students will present
“Annie Junior” at 7 p.m. on April 16 and April 17, in the school
theater at 300 W. Chenango Ave., Englewood. Almost 60 kids are
involved in the cast and crew, says director Melissa Shank , the
new drama and choir director at the school.
Harold Gray’s resourceful little comic strip heroine, Orphan
Annie, a 1930s Depression era kid, arrived on Broadway in 1977,
winning three Tony Awards and running for five years. It was the
idea of lyricist/director Martin Charnin, who persuaded composer
Charles Strouse to create a score and writer Thomas Meehan to
combine the years of comic strip stories into a workable
Many girls who like to sing and perform find this show an ideal
stop on the way to grownup shows, with its full, lively score and
strong storyline. Of course, there are parts for boys too, but the
ensemble of orphans consists of girls, who belt out songs such as
“Maybe” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”
In a nutshell: an 11 year old Orphan Annie (Ariel Cates) lives
under the thumb of mean Miss Hannigan (Noelle Flores) at the
Municipal Orphanage, longing for her parents to rescue her. “They
left a note saying they’d return for me.”
She runs away, connects with a loner dog named Sandy (imagine
him), and while on the street, sings “Tomorrow,” probably the
best-known song from “Annie.” But alas, she is is escorted back to
the orphanage by a policeman (Michael Arnsdorff).
In Miss Hannigan’s office, she encounters Grace (Kyrie
Schroeder), the secretary to rich Oliver (Daddy) Warbucks (Trenton
Christiansen), who wants to bring an orphan home for two weeks at
Christmas. The request is for a girl with curly hair, Annie appears
and goes home with Grace. “I Think I’m Gonna’ Like it Here” she
Warbucks is charmed and adopts her, after offering a reward for
information about her missing parents.
Hannigan, her shifty brother Rooster (Jarod Todeschi) and his
lady friend Lily (Carly Sellaro) plot to get the reward and sing
and dream of “Easy Street.”
But of course, all ends well!
This is the first musical Shanks has directed, and she’s loving
it, she says. She came to Englewood from Castle Rock Middle School,
which doesn’t do musicals. Although she is a classically-trained
singer, she says she’s decided that directing is what she truly
likes best, and it shows in her interaction with her kids. Proud of
her multicultural cast, she pursues a trademark approach of minimal
sets, costumes and props and an emphasis on acting and singing.
If you go:
“Annie Junior” will be presented at Englewood Middle School at 7
p.m. on Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17, in the school
theater at 300 W. Chenango Ave., Englewood. Tickets cost $5, adults
and $2, students. The show lasts about an hour.
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