by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
“Annie,” the musical tale of a winsome orphan in Depression-era New York City, will be presented by the Zimmerman High School Theatre next weekend.
“It’s definitely an inspirational story,” said director Jon Palashewski. “Annie has such a great attitude even though life has not been kind to her. There’s good music. There are darker parts to the story too, because she has such a tough time in the orphanage, and she almost gets kidnapped. But it’s mostly upbeat and will be good family entertainment.”
Reilly Hockert, a freshman, was chosen for the lead role.
“What stuck out about Reilly, who is a new student here, is that she has a real sparkle about her,” said Palashewski. “She is a very bubbly person and comes across as childlike. Of course, she is playing someone much younger than herself.”
Other lead roles include junior Miranda Berndt as the orphanage director, Miss Hannigan; senior Zach Raph as the wealthy Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks; junior Sylvia Michels as Grace, the mogul’s personal assistant; senior Vince Snyder os Rooster and junior Sam Jorgenson his girlfriend Lilly; and sophomore Andy Vey as President Roosevelt.
Annie, one of many young girls in an orphanage, runs away to the streets of New York where she befriends a stray dog she names Sandy.
“We are planning on using one of my students’ dogs,” said Palashewski. “It’s been interesting. We’ll see how it goes as we get into more rehearsals.”
The police return her to Miss Hannigan, but Annie’s life changes when Grace selects her to visit the Warbucks mansion for two weeks over Christmas.
Annie is convinced her parents are alive, and Warbucks, wanting to adopt Annie, offers a reward to find her parents. Rooster and Lilly concoct a scheme to pose as her parents to get the money. No less than President Roosevelt is called in, by the influential Warbucks, to try settle the matter.
The other orphans are played by Alden Estridge, Karissa Zachar, Kinsey Lage, Madison Stevens, Cassie Boucher, Katie Halter, Brooke Tempesta, and Andrea Ruether.
Other cast members are Andrew Vey, Brenna Lesnar, Carly Nelson, Jasmine Carr, Annika Koch, Justin Canterbury, Jonah Skrove, Zach Jamison, Aaron Koch, Makaelyn Gennaro, Marissa Luing, and Megan Hawk Jon.
“Annie” will debut Thursday with an 8:30 a.m. performance for Westwood Elementary students and will be presented for the public Friday night and Saturday night at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Palashewski is assisted by Laura Berghuis, Amy Cunningham (set design) and Carissa Halter (costumes, hair, makeup).