Who needs Broadway in Chicago? Saint Michael School (SMS), in Orland Park, recently hosted its rendition of the highly acclaimed play, "Annie Jr.” to sold out crowds totaling over 700 family and friends on March 28th and March 29th.
The show, directed by Jennifer Trippiedi and Joanne Lennon along with choreographer, Nancy Bigelow featured 59 SMS students from fifth through eighth grade. Twenty-eight students worked behind the scenes as production and crew members.
The students started practice back in January and have put in close to 100 rehearsal hours.
"We have had our ups and down working on this production and the kids worked hard,” says director Jennifer Trippiedi. “With that being said, Annie is the ultimate optimist. The play’s message is one we all need to be reminded of – that no matter how hard life may seem at times there is always a better tomorrow and you just have to believe in it."
This year, the SMS Drama Club received a grant from the Target Corporation, as well as a generous donation from an anonymous donor. These gifts allowed the school to rent state-of-the-art tech equipment needed to turn the old gym into a beautiful theater.
"The drama club allows these kids to showcase their artistic talents," says Jaime Harlin, parent of three drama club members. “It gives them a new sense of confidence.”
Featured in the lead role of Annie was eighth grader, Ellen Weiss.
The orphans (Molly, Pepper, Duffy, Tessie, July, Kate, Cecille and Annette) were played by 8th graders Anne Tracy, Kate Larkin, Amy Tracy, Anastasia Kakol, Grace Trippiedi, and 7th graders Meghan Lange, Sara Bernecker and Danielle Schleyer.
Other key players were Miss Hannigan: eighth grader Ellie Rybak; Mr. Bundles: Eamon Hennessy; Sandy: Maggie Caliendo; Grace Farrell: eighth grader Daphne Bigelow; Drake: Tom Bird; Oliver Warbucks: eighth grader Augie Hauter; Rooster Hannigan: Mac Harlin; Lily St. Regis: eighth grader Alyssa Lennon, and President Franlkin D. Roosevelt: eighth grader Kyle McNamara.
For the eighth graders, this will be their last production at SMS. They include: Kelsey Clarke; Lexis Guajardo; Maureen Imrie; Joe Leahy; Brady Mack; Anthony Majchrowicz; Mia Martino; Morgan McAuliffe; Brian McElligott; Makena Maxia; JJ Mitra; Maggie Nolan; Matthew Schumacher; Maddie Sigel; Ashley Stojak; Alexis Vargas; and Annie Zimmerman
“I got to know some of my closest friends by being in the play each year,” says eighth grader Mia Martino. “I going to miss them and being part of a great cast and crew.”
For more information on St. Michael School visit www.saintmike.org or call 708-349-0068.