The Whitehall Central School Drama Club capped off nearly four months of preparation last weekend as they staged “Annie” to rave reviews.
Several hundred people made their way into the high school auditorium for one of three performances and everyone walked away impressed.
“They did an excellent job said Fra Putorti, who served as the productions lighting and sound engineer. “They really stepped it up a notch.”
Prior to Friday’s show, cast members met in co-producer Chris Palmer’s classroom where they dressed in their costumes, applied their makeup, recited their lines and tried to ease any butterflies they may have felt.
Rachel Kasuba, who played the role of Lilly St. Regis, admitted to feeling a little nervous prior to the first show.
“I’ve never done this before. I was in the ensemble two years ago but all I had to do was walk on and off the stage,” she said.
Whatever angst she may have experienced wasn’t visible when she stepped on stage, as her character’s antics and New York City accent had the audience in stitches.
Students auditioned for the performance in October and been preparing for the show ever since, in some cases several times a week.
All that preparation paid off, especially in the small details that made each character come to life, from Kasuba’s and Stefan Lemery’s dead-on portrayal of working class New York City accents, Faith Eaton’s hysterics as Miss Hannigan, or Ali LeClair’s ability to exude Annie’s childhood innocence.
The play, which was staged about three months earlier than tradition because of a pending auditorium renovation project set to begin some time next month, is a huge undertaking and requires the cooperation of many people, all of whom Palmer thanked before the kids took stage.
Among those receiving thanks were the members of Ben Reynold’s construction class, who built an elaborate set that really made the play’s setting come to life in a tangible way.
Palmer also thanked Cheryl Putorti for helping organize the annual basket party which raised $6,300 toward the cost of the production.
“It’s a real team effort,” said Ian Rollins, who played Oliver Warbucks.