The Sun Comes Out for PB Perspectives: Spring Production of Annie Hits All the Right Notes

Nyasha Marufu, Features Editor

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Paint Branch High School’s drama club, Perspectives, proudly presented an absolutely classic musical in late March and early April. The musical, which focuses on an orphan finding her family in the big city, is well known by most and was wildly accepted during its run at PB.

Annie, written by Thomas Meehan with music by Charles Strouse, provided PB Perspectives’ actors and production team strong material to work with. And did they ever do a great job. With a strong cast of talented student actors, a few staff members, some youngsters from the area, and a crew of hardworking students backstage, Annie was a joy to watch.

The musical is really about the true meaning of family as it probes the depths of what family is and is not. One thing it certainly shows is that family isn’t always the one you were born into. It shows that a group of people who love and care about you and who will do anything to make you happy can be family.
The title role of Annie, played by Annie Petersen, is a very likeable young girl who is positive, kind, brave, and outgoing. After her parents abandoned her as a baby, Annie started to look for her family. Of course, being so outgoing, she makes a lot of friends during her adventure, including all the other orphans.

Annie Peterson remarked “My favorite part about being the lead is being able to interpret my character to portray her in a way that feels more real to me.” The orphans, played by Sarah Sheppard, Madeline Rose Halpin, Natasha Doa, Mary Shawhan, Alaysha King, and Samantha Fletcher, are some of Annie’s closest friends and they share a powerful relationship that is more of a sisterhood. Every time the orphans were on stage, the audience was laughing to their funny interactions.

The orphans were not the only ones who are fun on the stage, as several other enjoyable and funny characters make their way into the story. The big man himself, Oliver Warbucks, played by Donald McElveen, Daddy Warbucks, as he is called, is a great character to watch. He is funny and intelligent, and watching him grow from a man who only cares about money to a loving father is truly amazing. McElveen did a wonderful job in portraying the character. Other humorous characters in the show include the old lady in charge of the orphans, Miss Hannigan and her brother Rooster and his wife, Lily St. Regis.

Miss Hannigan, played by Abigail Sciannella, is an enjoyable villain who is not very serious, but is quite silly. Rooster, played by Corey Obirl, and Lily, played MaryGrace Ruebens, are very funny sidekicks who have one of the show’s best songs in “Easy Street.” MaryGrace, who is a PB senior declared “I’ll miss the energy and love I get from all my fellow theatre lovers and I’ll miss the sense of family and security that I felt every time I was there”.

The pit orchestra provided a strong musical accompaniment to the show and performed in a truly professional manner. pit orchestra director, Mr. Casement, did a great job in directing the show’s music in his second year with the program.

One of the pit crew members, senior Rose Leeger, had a great time playing below the stage. “I would say the best part would be hanging out with my friends and seeing how everything is being put together,” she said.

The set was beautifully designed thanks to the hard-working students who put in the time backstage to make sure the sets looked great. Technical Director, Ms. Ryan, and Show Director, Ms. Perkins, provided strong guidance to the students in creating the set.

Ms. Perkins, looking back on the show’s progression, noted that “dress rehearsal week was great because the kids got better everyday and the show got better everyday, which is more than we hoped for.” She added that “opening weekend was a huge success. We had the largest numbers in our audience that we ever had.”