NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – East End students performed the musical Annie for the public and the school community this week, and raised more than $3,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
The production starred Nala King as the title character Annie, a fourth grader student taking her first lead role in a school production. King has a very strong voice and belted out the classic Tomorrow with an almost professional ease.
With the exception of teacher Casey Sobel playing Mrs. Hannigan, all the roles were played by students at the school. Abdon Andahur played an excellent Daddy Warbucks, and Farrah Bajinath performed as his secretary, Grace Farrell, who found Annie in the orphanage. Hope Kaiser played Sandy, the loveable stray dog Annie adopts and protects when she’s brought back to the orphanage.
“It’s wonderful for the students to see so many people in the audience supporting them,” said Principal Brian Farrell. “The kids get so much from performing and having the positive reaction from the crowd of family and friends.”
This is the second year the school has put on a musical theater piece, following last year’s production of Cinderella. The school’s Parent Teacher Organization supports the school’s theater program with fundraising, ticket and t-shirt sales, carnations for the players, and concessions at the show. The PTO pays to get the license for the show each year, and helps produce and coordinate the event.
Tickets were just five dollars for the hour long show, with three dollars of every ticket being donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Papermill Playhouse Education Department. The Papermill Playhouse provided the sets and much of the costumes for the production.
Lilly St. Regis and Rooster Hannigan were played by fourth graders Kendy Coxwell Rudy and Nicole Lindermeyer respectively. They provided a good bit of comic relief with their antics and a pair of Groucho Marx nose glasses worn by Lindemeyer in the final scenes.
At the end of the second show on Thursday night the crowd gave a sustained standing ovation as the students took their bows, and demanded a second chance to tell the kids how much the show was loved.