It was smiles, hugs and tears of elation all round as the cast and crew of this year’s school production celebrated the end of a successful run on Saturday, February 23.
Annie was performed to packed audiences at The Harbour School’s Black Box Theater on February 22 and 23, to rapturous applause and rave reviews. Imogen Taylor, Director at Centrestage Studios who directed the show, said, “Congratulations to all of the students. We are so proud of them and what they have achieved.”
Christine Greenberg, Prep, Primary, and Middle School Principal said, "I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s hard working and dedicated cast and production team. Each year, we push the bar even higher to what is possible within a school production. My heartfelt thanks to everyone involved. From the inspired performances of each cast member, to faculty and students working side by side on production, to parents who supported and organised a fantastic cast party... Annie was quite a triumph for our community. I am awed and also already excited for next year!"
The culmination of five months of hard work, Annie is The Harbour School’s fifth annual school production and featured its largest cast yet - 52 students from Grades 3 to 12. Initially planned to run on January 25 and 26, the show was postponed after five cast members came down with influenza. After a much needed break over the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, cast and crew returned feeling renewed. They threw in six more days of intensive practice and their efforts paid off. Many in the audience were wowed by the very high standard of performance and sheer display of talent.
“I was completely blown away. So much talent! Bravo to everyone onstage and backstage,” said Kathryn, a THS parent.
“What really impressed me was how they were able to keep raising their game. The first night’s performance was already good. And then they tweaked some parts of the performance and did better for the Saturday matinee. But the last show was simply outstanding. It was really high-quality, especially for a school production,” said Penny, a THS parent.
The show tells the story of feisty orphan girl Annie and her search for her parents in 1930s New York. Annie was played by Grade 5 student Maya, John in Grade 11, starred as Oliver Warbucks and Lucy also from Grade 11 was Miss Hannigan. We asked Maya, John, Lucy, Jino from Grade 6 and Chiara from Grade 3 to share their experiences.
What were your most memorable moments?
Lucy: My favorite part of the show was Little Girls on Easy Street because it’s really fun to work on the song with the cast.
Jonathan: The most memorable part of working on Annie for me was actually growing a bond with Maya who played Annie. Our characters formed a “father-daughter” bond through the journey where Mr. Warbucks starts off arrogant and distant and then became warm and fatherly. I’ll always remember that bond with the cast.
Maya: My favorite part of Annie was knowing that we were all in it together. If one of us messed up, we could work on it together and help each other.
Jino: My favorite part was the final show. The whole cast was really excited and when the show was over we had a big party. We could see that our hard work showed.
Chiara: Saying “Yuck!” in my lines.
What were practices like?
Lucy: Practices were really fun, especially when people get silly. It’s nice in practice to know that even if you mess up, people will laugh with you but don’t get mad at you. It’s also been fun to see the transformations in everyone, from learning characters to the performance.
Jonathan: Practices were always interesting. I enjoyed paying a “silent tribute” during our practices to Imogen, the show director. She wouldn’t take praise for our efforts, so I liked to imitate her (British) accent and wear a scarf like she did as an ode to her work. She didn’t notice, but the cast really enjoyed it.
Maya: Practices were very long, but very helpful to learn the story and what we could improve on.
Jino: We practiced what we weren’t good at and what needed more emphasis. Practices were really rewarding though because we got to see it all come together.
Chiara: They drilled us for it so we could put on a good show. It was fun and a good experience.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
Lucy: I learned that I could work with little kids, and do it repeatedly. I can help them (and myself) to follow the directors and get better. Also, I was really surprised that I can be so mean onstage when playing Miss Hannigan, because I’m really not a mean person when I’m off stage.
Jonathan: The coolest thing about Annie was the dynamism of the cast. I learned that I am more caring than I thought I was. It was surprising to me that I could feel fatherly. I learned that being a father is more than disciplining kids when they step out of line, but to be their friend, guardian, and protector. When the younger cast members would cry or if they needed something, I would try and help them. I really felt the whole experience brought all of us closer together.
Maya: I learned to be more confident. I had not performed in a long time. Thankfully, the entire Grade 5 helped me with my confidence by sending videos and encouraging messages.
Jino: At first I thought being in a play wouldn't be that fun and that I wasn’t going to be good at it. But I learned that if I tried hard, I can do well.
Chiara: I learned that I have a really good memory