Annie comes to life in Solon SpringsAudiences can expect excellent props, amazing costumes and some fine acting and singing when 16 Solon Springs middle school students bring “Annie Jr.” to life.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Audiences can expect excellent props, amazing costumes and some fine acting and singing when 16 Solon Springs middle school students bring “Annie Jr.” to life.
The story of a red-haired orphan who melts the heart of a millionaire comes to Solon Springs at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the gymnasium of Solon Springs High School. Tickets are $5 at the door.
“It’s such a young group and they’re doing a great job,” said Melody Kosobucki, the piano accompanist for the play. “It’s just downright cute; it’s adorable.”
The cast is small, so each of the youth plays multiple roles.
“You’re never bored because you’re always busy,” said Taylor Blaylock. The sixth grader plays the parts of the orphan Kate, Mrs. Pugh the servant and the usherette at the movies. She enjoys switching costumes, wigs and characters.
Brianna Larson, a seventh grader, said she loves the combination of singing, dancing and acting.
“You’re never just standing around.”
The small cast does more than act and sing. They have lofted ideas that have often been incorporated into the show by Drama Director Kim Osterhues and Music Director Jean Swanson.
“We all have an idea that was used somewhere in the play,” said eighth grader Ashley Johnson, who takes on the role of Miss Hannegan, the scheming owner of the orphanage. She said the weeks of work have also taught them the importance of ensemble acting.
“We are learning to act as one group instead of individuals,” Johnson said.
The youth began rehearsals the week before school ended. They met for two hours every Monday through Thursday. Despite summer camps, athletic appointments and a golf program, the young thespians stuck it.
“I am amazed, blown away, by how dedicated they are,” Kosobucki said. “I’m excited to see what the final performance looks like.”
For Swanson, it’s a chance to pass on an acting tradition.
“I was in musicals as a high school student and I feel that every student should have the opportunity to be in a musical at least once during junior high or high school,” she said. “It is a fun way to learn so many skills – cooperation, responsibility, public speaking, working toward a goal, self-confidence, imagination, concentration, communication, problem solving, trust and memorization.”
But it’s the only time the gymnasium is open is during the summer when athletic teams hang up their gear. This is the second summer school musical the school has put on. The first was “Cinderella” three years ago.
This year’s production was a joint effort by youth, adults and community members. It was launched at a joint meeting with the Arts and Creativity Taskforce of Northwest Wisconsin. Grants from Rav’n and the Lion’s Club provide free admission to children ages 12 and younger. Another community member who has put a lot of time into the production is Christine Hensolt, who is in charge of costumes.
Ninth grader Kyle Rudd, who plays the role of Rooster, said practices took the boredom out of summer vacation. Mathew Huray said he was excited to show the public the end product of their hard work.
Swanson invited everyone to be part of that magic this weekend during “Annie Jr.”
“There is magic in the air the day of the performance,” she said.