Annie Jr. Takes Center Stage at PCA’s Benefit Event
On the evening of February 20, the outstanding talent and devotion exemplified by students of Prattville Christian Academy was put under the spotlight. This year’s benefit play was derived from one of Broadway’s hit musicals: Annie, and the final production was pulled off with equal excellence. Dr. Ron Mitchell, the President of Prattville Christian Academy, remarked, “I am so proud of our fine arts program at PCA… The play [was] certainly [one of] the best we have ever had,” and it seems as if his sentiments are shared by all! Even with the recent spectacles of Willy Wonka Jr. and Peter Pan Jr., Annie Jr. has stretched and shattered the limits, instantly becoming a crowd favorite!
When asked about the scenes and characters, both the cast and audience immediately answered that the production was a total hit! Specifically, many tended to mention the character of Mrs. Hannigan, played by McKenzie Monk. Both the scene with the interaction between her and Secretary Grace Farrell, in which Mrs. Hannigan screams in reaction to Mr. Warbucks wanting to adopt Annie, and the song “Little Girl” received special praise. Then, the intricate design of Mr. Warbuck’s mansion and the casting of Natalie Lantz as Annie were noted. The very first scene in the orphanage seemed to perfectly display all angles of the story’s main protagonist, demonstrating her fierce defiance and loving compassion. However, the overall favorite was always the finale as every actor took a bow and was honored for their outstanding dedication, hard work, and performance. It is so easy to see that the students at PCA are full of talent, and each unique character, on and off the stage, is deserving of claps all around!
According to Joey Fine, the director of Annie Jr., “The creative side of any director craves to see the play be the best it can be,” and taking in the reactions from the cast, crew, and audience, I believe it is completely safe to say that Annie Jr. was performed at its absolute finest! Although, the wonderful production had its bumps and bruises along the way, demonstrating the perseverance of the actors and crew. According to Jenna Stilling, who is involved in Technical Theatre and worked in the sound booth, “We had to deal with a lot of sickness, especially among the main leads. People were dropping left and right with the flu, bronchitis, [and] colds.” Then, the choreography also presented a daunting challenge to the cast, including Natalie Lantz as Annie, the lead role. In her own words, “it definitely took a lot of hard work and dedication” to master the vast amount of songs and corresponding movements. However, the show had to go on! Any and all challenges were met with fierce determination, and in the end, the show was phenomenal!
However, the play was not only an astounding experience for the audience, but the cast also felt as if it truly impacted their lives. Ellie Babcock, who played the part of Secretary Grace Farrell, voices what all of the actors and crew seem to feel in saying, “I miss [the play] so much, and it’ll always be a part of me.” Furthermore, Lantz adds in encouraging words of wisdom by voicing that one should “never be afraid to try something new [because] even if you think the chances are slim…You never know what could happen, and you might regret it in the future if you never [try].” In short, acting was not only an immense joy, but a way to create memories and grow in an environment that teaches commitment and responsibility. These talented students and wonderful directors and coordinators are a complete blessing to PCA. None of this would be possible without them. Each day, the faculty and staff encourage students to take their learning beyond the classroom and glorify God in everything they do. This drive for excellence is not an easy one, and it never will be, but with such wonderful dedication and outstanding students to guide this world to a brighter future, we can all take the step to try something new and accept the challenge. In the words of Director Joey Fine, “Just remember, no matter what [you’re] going through… ‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!!!”
Written by: Maddie Jeffery
PCA Journalism Student