'Annie, Jr.' takes the stage at Timothy Edwards Middle School

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Mar. 9, 2011
More than 100 student-actors are involved in the Timothy Edwards Middle School production of "Annie, Jr.," which will run March 24 to 26. Photos by Martha Marteney.
More than 100 student-actors are involved in the Timothy Edwards Middle School production of "Annie, Jr.," which will run March 24 to 26. Photos by Martha Marteney.

The Entertainers at Timothy Edwards Middle School are in full rehearsal for the production of “Annie, Jr.”  According to drama director Joe Connolly, more than 100 students will be on stage, with another couple dozen involved in the production behind the scenes.  The students started working on the production in early January.  “This cast has won the award for most snow days,” joked Connolly.

Seventh grade social studies teacher Laurie Petrin is the producer of the play, Carolyn Fisher of Summit Studios in Manchester is the music director, and Kathy Munson of Footloose Dance Studios in South Windsor is the choreographer.

“We’re lucky, this is one of the programs where we don’t have to cut,” explained Connolly.  In order to accommodate the volume of participants, the leading roles are all cast double.  The actors rehearse the roles on stage together, and then each actor will perform the role twice.  “It’s cool to watch as they support each other,” said Connolly.

Seventh-grader Anna and eighth-grader Justine share the role of Annie.  They admitted that sometimes it is confusing to be on stage reciting the roles at the same time.  “But it also helps to learn from each other,” said Justine.  Both girls have been in multiple productions.  Anna mostly participates for the signing, while Justine likes the singing, acting and dancing.

Stefan Klein is the technical director, advising the tech crew on how to run the spotlights, smart lights and sound equipment.  “We try to make it experiential for the students,” said Klein about the hands-on training. TEMS shares a state-of-the-art sound board with the high school, and a couple of high school students have also been teaching the middle school students how to use the equipment.

James joined the tech crew last year when he came to TEMS.  “I just wanted something to do,” he said.  “I wanted to be involved, but I’m not a good actor.”  Last year, he learned how to use the lighting board and spotlights, and this year he has been working with the new sound board.

Matt, an eighth-grader, has been with the Entertainers for three years, starting first in the cast and then switching to the tech crew.  “You get to put the show together,” said Matt about the role of the tech crew.  “It’s a big responsibility with the lights and mikes.”

Nick Canova serves as artistic director, and has worked with seven students to paint the “flats” depicting the various scenes in the play.  The scenes help the actors immerse themselves in the characters, and help the audience envision the setting and atmosphere.  Once the flats are finished, these students will serve as the stage hands during the rehearsals and productions.  “They’re really an integral part,” explained Canova, “and being on stage, they will learn the importance of their jobs.

“Annie, Jr.” will be presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 24 through 26.  There will also be a performance on Saturday, March 26 at 1 p.m.  Tickets go on sale as of March 14, and cost $7 for general admission and $5 for seniors and children under the age of 5.  To purchase tickets, call 860-648-5030.


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