This week, Buckeye Valley High School will perform “Annie” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The show will be the first musical performed at the school since 2019 after the 2020 musical was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“’Annie’ is a fantastic reintroduction to theater,” said Director Hannah Fuller said. “It has a sweet story. What I love about it is that it incorporates performers of all ages. Middle school performers, high school performers, and we have a dog. It brings in a lot of elements of cooperation and working together. For many students out there, this is the first musical they’ve ever done. COVID unfortunately took away the opportunities for many of these students.”
Fuller added will be the first musical she has directed since she was hired as a reading and writing teacher at Buckeye Valley East Elementary last year, but she’s “not at all nervous” for the performances.
“We had a fantastic creative team, but it’s the performers that reassure me that their passion for this show and this program will see us through,” Fuller said. “I’m not nervous, but I think the most overwhelming emotion is pride.”
Fuller said she’s proud of and impressed by the students in the production, especially since so many have other extra-curricular activities.
“We have very involved students, and they’re very well rounded,” Fuller said. “They’re becoming these wonderful people. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful things that they’ll accomplish.”
Fuller said she hopes residents attend to see the uplifting show.
“The biggest message of ‘Annie’ is about hope,” she said. “We have to look forward to tomorrow with optimism.”
Tickets must be prepurchased at buckeyevalleyathletics.com/event-tickets. The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 6 and 7 with a final matinee performance at 2 p.m. on May 8.
Senior Tori Smith, who plays Annie, said she’s looking forward to the premiere.
“I’m maybe a little nervous, but I’m very honored to have the opportunity,” Smith said. “It can be a little nerve-wracking because if I mess up it’s a big deal. I’m honored to even be a part of it.”
Smith added she’s thankful to have the lead part in the show during her senior year and said the past week of dress rehearsals have really brought the show together.
“It’s like my ending accomplishment for high school,” Smith said. “(I’m) doing what I love. I’ve always had a passion for singing. Dress rehearsals get me more in character. Costumes and mics make it all real.”
Eighth grader Lia Alexander, who plays fellow orphan Duffy in the show, said the character is a kind of leader of the orphans in the show, and she used her real experience as an older sibling to get into the role.
“She’s a little bit of a troublemaker,” Alexander said. “I enjoyed it a ton.”
Alexander said the role is her first theater experience, and she’s looking forward to doing more when she comes to Buckeye Valley High School next school year.
“I’m so glad I get to do it,” she said. “It’s coming together very well.”
Senior Kaitlyn Mack, who plays Ms. Hannigan, the authoritarian head of the orphanage, said she enjoys getting into the villainous character.
“It’s so much fun,” Mack said. “I really enjoy playing villains and quirky characters.”
Mack added the show has been her favorite one she’s done “by far,” and she’s been enjoying dress rehearsals.
“I’m not nervous, I’m just trying to get where I need to be,” Mack said. “It feels like it’s coming together. We’ve come so far already. I love everybody that’s helped put the show together.”
Senior Dustin Lindsay, who plays Daddy Warbucks in the show, said he’s looking forward to Friday’s opening.
“I have the usual nerves, but I think it’s going to get pulled off really well,” Lindsay said. “I’m excited for it. I definitely wouldn’t want any other experience (for my senior year). It’s been great to have this cast and these directors.”
Lindsay said he was nervous to step into such a well-known character but was feeling more confident after months of practice.
“I feel like I definitely have the character down more than I thought I would,” he said.
Lindsay said after he graduates, he plans to study commercial music at Tiffin University.
Freshman Eliza Finley, who plays Daddy Warbucks’ assistant, Grace Farrell, in the show, said she was surprised when she got such a large role as a freshman.
“I’m super excited for it,” Finley said. “I didn’t expect much. I played a supporting character in the fall. When I got the call back, I was so excited.”
Finley said she’s “not as nervous” as she thought she’d be heading into the final week of rehearsals.
“We have a great support system here, and everyone is so uplifting,” Finley said. “It really helps the nerves. Mrs. Fuller has been so awesome.”
Finley added the middle school students in the show are “so amazing.”
More information can be found at buckeyevalley.k12.oh.us.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.