Palos South students charmed sold out crowds with songs including “Hard Knock Life,” and “Tomorrow” last Friday and Saturday night at Stagg High School with their performance of the timeless classic, “Annie.”
Leading the cast of over 60 students were Emma Lizzio (Annie), Stephen Jackiw (Oliver Warbucks), Katrina Mamone (Miss Hannigan), and Mary Baca (Grace Farrell). Four-year-old Brooke Schuller, daughter of Palos South music teacher Amanda Schuller, made her acting debut as Annie’s dog, Sandy.
Palos South drama teacher Katie McDonough, directed a student cast and crew of over 90 in her fifteenth musical production. It is McDonough’s first repeat production since her tenure at South. Musical direction was provided by Bill Hansen, with art direction by Randy Buvala; both teachers at Palos South.
Set in the 1930’s, Annie is the hopeful story of a fiery 11-year-old girl who was abandoned as a baby, raised in an orphanage, and found a new home with one of the richest people in the country. Annie’s seemingly hopeless situation changes when she is selected to spend a short time at the residence of the wealthy Oliver Warbucks.
Production began in early September with auditions, and by January, the cast and crew were working three and four days a week bringing the musical to life. “The cast and crew are amazingly good kids,” said McDonough, “And they worked hard to make this a success.”
McDonough said that positive experiences in drama productions at South help inspire eighth grade cast members to get involved in high school drama clubs. Proceeds from the musical benefit Palos South’s Drama Club and go toward the purchasing rights and props for next year’s drama production. Past productions have included, “The Wizard of Oz,” “High School Musical,” “High School Musical 2,” “The Music Man,” and “Back to the 80’s.”