Behind The Curtain: Middle School East Performs ‘Annie’

Usually in my column I focus on musical and play productions in local high schools, however today I’m going to be talking about another show in the PV school district. Let’s take a closer look at Middle School East’s production of “Annie” from this past month, performed on February 28th, 29th, and March 1st.

East has seen a few directors over the years, and before Marianne Green stepped up, the show was close to being cancelled. Despite this being her first Middle School East production, with 30 other shows under her belt, and experience on Broadway, Mrs. Green was the perfect choice.

“I was hired a little late, so I thought ‘Annie’ would be a good pick… I already love and know the show, and it gives a lot of the kids opportunities with so many roles”, said Mrs. Green, on how she decided on “Annie,” for this year’s production.

The first thing I noticed was how the set, backdrops, and costumes all looked spectacular on stage. Everything seemed very high caliber, with scenes and backdrops transitioning seamlessly.

“We had to rent four different backdrops, and we used a traveler curtain to help with the scene transitions. We had a lot of help from parents with set construction, which took about one and a half months,” said Mrs. Green.

The performance was also very professional and well executed, which was impressive for a show with such a large cast, and so many young kids.

“I really love this show, and I was excited that I got to play Annie… I got to make a lot of new friends during the show too,” said seventh grader Micayla Fleming, who played none other than the iconic red-head.

The show was not without its difficulties behind the scenes though, as the middle-schoolers had to be rehearsing for months in advance before opening night.

“For me, the quick change I have to do is the most difficult part… I have to get changed really fast backstage before going back on,” said Samantha Schoenewald, who played Grace Farrell, and had to quickly change from her normal costume into a beautiful satin green dress during the second act.

“This has been the hardest role to play because it’s a mix of different things that were completely new to me,” said seventh grader Ben Gerberich, who portrayed Daddy Warbucks.

However, in the end, the show all came together wonderfully.

“Getting to perform on stage is very rewarding,” said Leah Byrne, as she was the show’s comedic relief and antagonist, Miss Hannigan.

For me personally, though, the highlight of the show had to be Sandy, played by a real dog, Sage Cochran. The golden retriever got her own headshot and name in the playbill, and was featured onstage with Annie during a few scenes. (Unfortunately, Sage was unavailable for an interview, so I have no comment from her on how she felt about the performance.)

Overall, the show was amazing, and I’m always blown away by how great the shows are at Middle School East. No matter what the show is next year, or who ends up directing it, I know I’ll go to see it again. It’s always an entertaining and worthwhile experience that is made possible through the support of so many people in the community.

Image Source: Marty Mckenzie Feature Image Includes: Cast of ‘Annie’ after performing ‘It’s the Hard-Knock Life’