Fall musical at Jones one of optimism and hope
Young actors at Upper Arlington’s Jones Middle School will tread the boards this week to bring audiences the classic story of the ever-optimistic Orphan Annie in Annie Jr.
Director and vocal music teacher Sarah Santilli said the adaptation of the popular musical Annie is a good fit for the middle school students.
“Annie is a classic musical that is well-known, well-loved and appealing to all ages,” she said. “This show gives us the opportunity to feature many students in a variety of roles.”
Actors will be accompanied by a live pit orchestra.
She said Annie Jr. is a show about optimism and hope during one of the country’s most difficult times: the Great Depression.
In the production program, Santilli and the other directors – Katie Widing, Kathy Preston and Cynthia Luce, all full-time teachers at Jones – wrote that the story “reminds us to keep looking toward the future and working toward our goals, no matter what challenges face us.”
Performances begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 and 25 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27 at Jones Middle School, 2100 Arlington Ave. The auditorium is accessed via the rear entrance to the school on Coventry Road.
Tickets cost $7 and are available for purchase at the middle school. They also will be sold outside the auditorium one hour before each production.
For pre-production ticket-sale times, visit the Jones Middle School website, jones.uaschools.org/pages/JonesMS.
Santilli said the show was double-cast to give twice as many students the opportunity to be featured.
Playing Annie are Jordyn Stone and Ruth Buergenthal; Adam Boyer and Will Robbins play Oliver Warbucks; Anna Campise and Sarah McOwen play Grace; Lydia Miller and Sophia Reisman play Miss Hannigan; Drew Weisberg and Ben Brewster play Rooster; Audrey Holman and Alison Argento play Lily; Zara Boiarski and Sydney Rose play Molly; Mimi Cai and Ruby Miller play July; Joey Boschert and Brianna Barrett play Kate; Savannah Halley and Clara Fix play Duffy; Ruby Durakovic and Isabel Ali play Pepper; and Margot Whipps and Izzy Robeson play Tessie.
Parent and PTO publicity Chairwomman Debra Hadley said a portion of the proceeds from Annie Jr. will support the Suzie Matthews Auditorium Improvement Fund.
“Suzie, a beloved former music teacher who was involved with the fall production for most of its 31 years, passed away from breast cancer in March 2011,” Hadley said. “To date, approximately $20,000 has been raised in Suzie’s honor and has been utilized to purchase wireless microphones, a new sound board and several other upgrades that are part of a multiyear plan to update the auditorium.”
She said those attending opening night Oct. 24 are asked to wear pink to support a “pink out” in honor of Matthews and Stefanie Spielman, who both loved the fall production. Spielman also died of breast cancer.
Santilli said directors try to present students with challenging shows that teach many aspects of theater production.
“In the past three years, we presented Beauty and the Beast Jr., which was fantasy; Fame Jr., which is modern; and Annie Jr., which is traditional,” she said. “Through this three-year rotation of show styles, we know that all of our students will gain an appreciation for the many facets of musical theater, while providing our community with an ever-changing experience.”
Hadley said about 200 students are involved in this year’s production, along with 150 parent and teacher volunteers.
Parent coordinators for the production are Jeanine Hummer, Kirsten Barrett and Amy Holman.