Thursday, March 25, 2004

Energetic cast, crew shine in Beechwood High's 'Annie'

High school entertainers

Hannah Prichard, 15, puts on her makeup before Beechwood High School's production of "Annie," as Elizabeth Schmitt, 13, waits her turn before the show.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/STEVEN M. HERPPICH
The Greater Cincinnati chapter of Cappies, or Critics and Awards Program, is in its third season, with students writing reviews of other high schools' productions. Today, Beechwood High's "Annie." For more information and show schedules, see

Beechwood High School's production of Annie was striking and energetic.

Although at times the stage felt crowded during the musical numbers, the ensemble added to the energy. The bright voices, dancing ability and smiling faces of the orphan chorus created a standout performance in "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (Reprise)."

The youngest orphan, Molly (Molly McMath), added her clear voice and comic timing. Robbie McMath provided another standout ensemble performance, accompanied by the Boylan Sisters (Ashley Feldman, Christa Wilcox, Carrie Gambill) with their harmonies.

And as for that lovable redhead? Seventh-grader Rebecca Matthews created an Annie who sparkled with her beaming smile and sweet voice.

Danielle LaVilla gave an impressive performance with her rendition of Miss Hannigan, the "mother" of the orphanage. Through facial expressions and a dynamic voice, her solo "Little Girls" was clean and precise. Combined with Nick Biron (Rooster) and Katie Jeffries (Lily) for "Easy Street," the trio proved clever and cunning.

The cast and crew made use of their space through cleverly designed sets and a crew that kept the show moving. Scene changes were kept interesting by crew members "cleaning" - washing windows and dusting furniture.

Kristin Conrad, Turpin High School

Robbie Anderson realistically transformed from the barking, cranky billionaire Oliver Warbucks to the sweet father figure Annie came to love.

He was aided by his secretary, Grace (Julie Matthews), who created a believable character as she defended Annie.

Kate Hattemer, Walnut Hills High School

As the orphans, the chemistry among the elementary and middle school students was remarkable. Their fighting and playing seemed completely natural. Their angelic, yet strong, voices were impressive.

Jessica Whitcomb-Trance, Cincinnati Christian School

The revolving set was an attention-grabber.

The drab orphanage quickly transformed into the prestigious Warbucks mansion. The New York City backdrop was also cleverly designed with stars and windows lit for effect.

Although the set changes were a bit distracting, the costumed crew added an unusual touch.

Nicholas Helton, Taylor High School

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