NEWINGTON - The story of an orphan who lives in a billionaireâ€™s mansion is coming to the Martin Kellogg Middle School stage next weekend.
The schoolâ€™s Drama Club will present its production of â€śAnnieâ€ť April 5-7 at 7 p.m. with a 1 p.m. Saturday matinee.
A whole lot of students are taking part in the show, divided among a blue and a gray cast and a busy stage crew. Drama director Nicole Daigle, music director Jessica Bocola and assistant director Ashley Sheridan have been running rehearsals nearly every day after school since late fall.
Playing Annie in the blue cast is eighth-grader Giuliana Stolfi, 14.
â€śIâ€™m excited but nervous to perform in front of a lot of people,â€ť Stolfi said.
Her challenging orphanage owner Miss Hannigan is being played by Diana Sliwinski, who described her character as â€śvery flirty with the guys. She wants money and fame.â€ť
As billionaire Oliver Warbucks, 13-year-old Christopher Page is taking on an unusual role for him.
â€śI havenâ€™t done any serious roles where Iâ€™m not the funny guy, so itâ€™s going to be fun,â€ť said Page, who has been acting since he was nine.
His favorite part of being on stage is the very last scene and everything that follows.
â€śI like the curtain call. You feel like you accomplished something,â€ť he said.
Fellow Warbucks star R.J. Longo pointed out that the role is one of the showâ€™s leads, so it requires a lot of practice.
â€śItâ€™s a big commitment,â€ť the 14-year-old said. â€śIâ€™m happy to be a part of it.â€ť
Daniel â€śRoosterâ€ť Hannigan and Lilly St. Regis are the playâ€™s main villains. Twelve-year-old Clay Taylor, the blue Rooster, thinks he fits the part perfectly.
â€śI can be evil sometimes I guess,â€ť Taylor said of why he was cast in this role.
Gray Rooster Marc Pantano is doing a fine job of balancing academics with drama.
â€śItâ€™s a lot of work but itâ€™s worth it at the end because you get to be with your friends and everybody sees it,â€ť he said.
Like many fellow student-actors, Pantano gets his homework done when heâ€™s not needed on stage. Because there are two casts, students take turns rehearsing.
Lilly St. Regis is Roosterâ€™s girlfriend and being played by Beth Doll, 11, and Nyla Rivera, 14.
â€śItâ€™s my last year in middle school so I just want to go out with it and have fun with my friends,â€ť Rivera pointed out.
Sheâ€™s taking all honors classes at Newington High School next year, so it doesnâ€™t leave much room for after school activities. â€śI probably wonâ€™t have time,â€ť Rivera said.
Thereâ€™s also Grace Farrell - Warbucksâ€™ secretary, love interest and ultimately, Annieâ€™s adopted mother.
Sheâ€™s being played by Brenda DeBlois, 14, and Laila Tahirovic, 14. The girls helped each other with makeup and costumes before dress rehearsals. Tahirovic says sheâ€™s definitely going to pursue the performing arts at NHS.
â€śI love being in plays. Iâ€™ve been in them all four years here and I enjoy getting feedback about my acting and singing.â€ť
To purchase tickets, visit Npsct.tix.com or the live box office in the MKMS lobby, open Mondays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, April 5 at 7 p.m. - Gray Cast
Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. - Blue Cast
Saturday, April 7 at 1 p.m. - Blue Cast
Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. - Gray Cast