Play Review: Middle School Production of Annie Jr.


Montrose’s annual Middle School Musical this fall was Annie Jr., a shorter version of Broadway’s Annie. This was the first production in Montrose’s new Arts and Athletics Center.  It was such a success at Montrose that the chairs on the gym floor were nearly all full both nights! “I went twice because I didn’t want it [Annie] to end,” commented Monica Stack ’15, who added, “I loved it.”

The curtain opened on the 1933 orphanage scene with the sleeping orphans dressed in authentic costumes surrounded by realistic props and scenery. Seventh grader Katie Hogan played the lead role of Annie, an orphan. Her voice remained in sync with Mrs. Sullivan’s piano playing through all her songs, and her voice projected especially clearly when she sang her classic solo, “Tomorrow”. All the orphans sang solos sharing the limelight in their various group songs. All the orphans were very good singers. Isabella Frank ’19, who played the cruel orphanage director, Miss Hannigan, did not overact. She portrayed just enough comedy to make the performance realistic and interesting.

Grace Farrell, played by Nora Cahill ’19, was also a realistic character. Her acting was spectacular. She fit the role of Oliver Warbuck’s secretary in both her physical appearance  and personality features exactly. Abby McAvoy ’19 was a great Oliver Warbucks; she spoke in a realistically deep voice and remained in character even during some funny moments on stage. The whole cast put on a very enjoyable and realistic performance.

A creative piece to the full cast song, “NYC” was that the ‘star to be’, played by Courtney Aicardi ’20, was dressed in her uniform. That was a clever way to obtain the right costume for that role. Maybe when Courtney graduates from Montrose, she will get on a train right away for Broadway.

In all the orphans’ songs, “Easy Street”, and “Tomorrow” there was great choreography. When Miss Hannigan, her brother, Rooster, and his sidekick sang “Easy Street” the body language made listening to it especially entertaining. Emma Dunnington ’20 played Rooster, Miss Hannigan’s brother well. She seemed completely like a man between her costume and her realistic and entertaining acting.

Mrs. Sullivan’s piano playing was, of course, superb. She filled all the spaces when the running crew was changing sets with music. It was hardly noticeable when she did this because her playing flowed so smoothly with what needed to be played when the stage lights went back on. She never faltered playing beautifully for a second.

On Saturday and Friday nights, the cast got a standing ovation making Montrose’s Middle School Musical quite a success this year.