Annie; A Hard Knock Life for Drama Students


Jacob Paul

Photo by Jacob Paul

Benji Hobson, Reporter

Where can you go to see live music, real dogs, dead presidents, multibillionaires, and rowdy orphans all at the same time? Why Woodland Park High School’s fall production of Annie of course! Dozens of actors, techies, and musicians have put in an approximate average of ten hours a week for the last five weeks by building sets, learning dances, rehearsing songs and memorizing lines. This is an impressive statistic, so we went behind the scenes to talk to cast and crew to see just how they felt about the performance that they have dedicated a large portion of their lives to in the last few weeks.


When asked what the most difficult aspect of the production was, Natalie McKinney, who plays the role of Annie, expressed that the hardest part for her was learning all the lines. An understandable struggle, as in the uncut script the actress that portrays Annie is required to memorize over 140 lines and sing in 11 numbers. Actors and actresses are not the only ones required to memorize lines however, Caleb Leavy describes, as techies are responsible for scene changes, lighting, and sound, and must memorize cues so they know when to do what. But in stark contrast to the difficulties described by those above and on the stage, are the struggles of those below. Those in the pit have the taxing task of playing music to follow songs performed by actors they cannot see. As Brett Valenti, one of the pianists for the pit, put it, “The greatest challenge is probably keeping pace with the music.”


While their views drastically differ, the interviewed members of cast, pit, and crew replied unanimously when asked what their favorite part of putting on the play was: the cast. Hannah Hobson, who plays the orphan Molly, says “You like hanging out with the cast, they’re fun, they’re dramatic.” Valenti stated something quite similar, saying his favorite part is, “Performing with people, it’s just nice being part of a team.”


They have struggled, they have strived, but above all, the cast and crew of Annie has worked together to create an unforgettable production. Members of the community were so impressed by the performance that Annie more than sold out for two of its three nights, forcing the crew to bring additional chairs into the auditorium. Overall, it was an extremely exciting production, and the public is already looking forward to the next show.