Southeastern’s stage show is one of the classics

The Southeastern Local Schools cast of “Annie” is ready to entertain audiences March 8-9 at the high school. The cast features a combination of veteran and new student-actors, including middle schoolers and high schoolers.

(Posted Feb. 28, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Southeastern Local Schools will present the musical “Annie” at 7 p.m. March 8 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 9 at the high school.

The drama department chose to stage “Annie” this year for two main reasons, according to art teacher Laura Madden who is co-directing the production with band and choir teacher David Kestner.

“Due to COVID-19, we were unable to have a musical in 2021. That has led to smaller casts the past two years. In an effort to encourage more students to join the musical, we were able to include our seventh-graders in the show as orphans,” Madden said.

“We also had a group of our seasoned musical cast members who were interested in doing a Broadway classic show after two years of ‘cartoon’ musicals–‘Seussical’ and ‘The SpongeBob Musical,’” Madden continued. “It worked, because this year we have 35 cast members, when the past two years we only had 20.”

Of those 35 cast members, 12 have previous stage experience. The students who landed lead roles are mainly stage veterans, but some newbies are in the mix, too.

Playing the title role of Annie is seventh-grader Avery Boyer, who Madden describes as “a natural” and has several Springfield Arts Council shows under her belt. Junior Trenton Davis, appearing in his third show at Southeastern, plays Warbucks.

“Trenton is taking a bigger leadership role with this part which involves several singing solos,” Madden said.

Senior Shelby Kenley, one of only two seniors in the cast, is putting her leadership skills and previous two shows’ worth of experience to work as Grace Farrell, Warbucks’s assistant.

Sophomore Elizabeth Beam, who has appeared in shows the past two years, is meeting the challenge of playing the main villain, Miss Hannigan. The cast’s other senior, Peyton Hamilton, plays Rooster, Miss Hannigan’s brother. Newcomer Savannah Hamm-Bodine, an eighth-grader, plays Rooster’s girlfriend, Lily St. Regis.

“Peyton has been in our shows since eighth grade. He is very comfortable on the stage and brings a lot of positive energy to the show,” Madden said. “Savannah is beginning to have fun with her part and her older co-stars.”

Junior Justin Callicoat, appearing in his second musical, plays several parts in “Annie,” including Drake the English butler, Bert Healy the radio personality, and cabinet member Ickes.

A couple of other students with main parts are sophomore Nic Hilyard playing President Roosevelt and seventh-grader Addie Mohler playing orphan Molly, both of whom are new to the stage.

The show is packed with attention-grabbing scenes, solos, and dance numbers.

“The orphans and Annie show off their enthusiasm in ‘Hard Knock Life.’ They sing with all their hearts and have a great dance with buckets and brooms,” Madden said. “In Act II, the radio station has Bert Healy and the Boylan Brothers harmonizing on ‘Fully Dressed’ which the orphans emulate in the next scene. Miss Hannigan shows how much she hates her job in ‘Little Girls.’”

And the examples go on.

“The whole show is full of classic Broadway tunes,” Madden said.

Tickets are $5 for youths ages 18 and younger and $7 for adults. They can be purchased in advance by sending money with a student to the school office. Tickets also will be available for purchase at the door 30 minutes before show time, unless the show is already sold out.

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