Valley youths open in ‘Annie’ this weekend
The rehearsal was a scene right out of a Broadway production, stage crews hanging backdrops while musicians read music for the first time and the orphans from “Annie” found their marks on the stage and projected their voices to fill the cavernous depth of Carson City’s Community Center.
The rehearsal was confusing, but out of the chaos will come a polished performance if veteran producer, director and WNCC instructor Stephanie Arrigotti has anything to say about it.
“Auditions for Annie were March 28,” said Arrigotti. “We’ve been rehearsing two days a week up until two weeks ago. Then we’ve been at it every day.”
Musical theater requires a tremendous amount of determination and dedication, according to Arrigotti. “There are thousands of details the children must learn that older, more experienced adults already know. Like facing the audience, how to show expression through body movement. Each detail has to be taught. But the children are fantastic learners. Everything will fall into place by opening night.”
According to Arrigotti, a director gets a feel from rehearsals and instinctively knows if the cast is on track. “After rehearsing in a classroom for two months, moving onto the stage at the Community Center can come as a big shock,” said Arrigotti. “The cast is not only where it is supposed to be, they are a little ahead of schedule. They are going to put on the show of a lifetime.”
Arrigotti maintains an overwhelming schedule as producer and associate director of the WNCC Theater Company, producer and director of the Theater for Youth, and producer of the Dramatic Productions. Luckily, she has Lynne Heller as an associate director for the Theater for Youth productions.
“Lynne is multitalented, and she used to be a teacher,” said Arrigotti. “I try to get the children to pay attention and I can never do it as easily as she does. She relates with the children.”
Over the last year, the face of the Theater for Youth program changed from smaller productions performing on small stages in the community, to the professional level production like this year’s Annie.
“My philosophy is never turn a child away,” said Arrigotti. “We had multiple casts to accommodate all who auditioned. Now we are doing full-fledged productions. The children have risen to the occasion, putting on incredible shows, truly beyond what the audiences thought was possible.”
Opening night for Annie is Friday, June 12, with additional performances on June 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. The Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $8 for general admission, $7 for student and seniors, $4 for children 5 and under, and $25 for families. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Kennedy Bookstore in Carson City, Maytan Music in Reno or from cast members. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the performance at the box office one-hour prior to curtain time.
“It’s a joy to work with the children,” said Arrigotti. “We literally watch them grow up. And theater is something that will transfer to their lives by giving them confidence. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them and a chance for audiences to watch a truly talented group of children.”
Douglas County cast members include Sarah Riley, Paul Rossmeir, Meagan Riley, Kate Nichols, Chris Kuszmaul, Marcus Quiroga, Chelsea Rowe, Sarah Woodington, Rachel Anderson, Alysse Austin, Annie Austin, Courtney Baxter, Brooke Allred, Tristan Clark, Samantha Hefner, Rachel Jackson, Dena Jackson, Lindsay Mandeville, Sarah Pullen, Haylee Rossler, Taylor Clark, Kyrie Fisher, Jennifer Satterfield, Jessi Cook, Jennifer Jackson and Rachel Robison.
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