By LIBBY CLUETT
From Broadway to Ram Theater, the sun will come out next week as students and adults take the stage in the Mineral Wells High School community theater production of “Annie.”
The 45-member cast includes 10 adults, several high school students and about 20 young children from the area, combining their talents to entertain the community. Theater Director Kris Allen said “Annie” will be the first community show MWHS has had in a long time.
Leading the cast is Stephanie Shaw, a Garner ISD fifth-grader, who plays Annie. Allen is not only directing but will play the part of Daddy Warbucks, while his wife, Hilary, will play Miss Hannigan. Former County Judge Mike Smiddy is taking the role of FDR; Hayes Station's John Conrad will be Drake, the butler; and First Financial Bank's Lorraine Crutcher will play Grace.
To bring viewers their best, the cast has been practicing since November, with a brief break for the holidays.
Shaw's mother, Diane Shaw, who also has a role in the play, said she thinks this has been very positive for the children in the cast – including three Garner children – who were welcomed by the high school students.
“I think this has been a wonderful experience for all the little girls – the orphans – to be exposed to fine arts in high school and getting to work with the high school kids and seeing their level of commitment and talent,” she said.
“I think Mineral Wells can be very happy for their high school students,” added Shaw, who also serves as a trustee for Graford ISD and whose younger daughter will play an orphan. “I'm happy for them to be an influence on my children.”
Ram Theater students have constructed the sets, including building mansion walls, floors and a staircase.
On Wednesday, Shaw and her husband, Jason, were working on painting and other finishing touches for the sets, working alongside a number of high school students and Allen.
“Annie” was the first play Allen ever saw. Although he said he cannot recall the details of the play – he was 7 years old at the time – he said, “I remember the feeling and falling in love with theater.”
Putting the community production together “has been a challenge, but a labor of love because I have such feelings for the show,” he added.
So far, Allen said they are further ahead of the game than usual, but added there is still a lot to finish up.
For the production, Allen said they rented a computer program, called Sinfonia, which he said simulates a full orchestra and “sounds great.”
Allen said since he is acting and directing, theater supporter Beth Williams has taken on some of the costuming and props duties.
“It's been an everybody-pitch-in effort,” he added.
Now it's up to the community to play the supporting role by coming solo, with a friend or bringing the family to enjoy the fine arts in Mineral Wells next week and support local theater.
The family friendly musical takes place Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 17-19 at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the MWHS auditorium, located at 3801 Ram Boulevard.
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for seniors and students. They are available at the Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce or Bennett's Office Supply.
Tickets will cost $12 and $7 at the door.