Arts & Entertainment

Annie Brings Sunshine To Valleyview Middle School


DENVILLE, NJ-- Valleyview’s rendition of Annie upheld the Drama Club’s tradition; talented students who put on outstanding performances night after night.

The play was a hit, there is no doubt about that. There was a packed house every night. Running from Thursday, April 30 through Saturday, May 2 the Valleyview Drama Club performed their hearts out. Director and choreographer, Jenn Faliveno and musical director John Priori did it again.

Annie is an American classic based on Little Orphan Annie, the 1924 comic strip by Harold Gray, which was later turned into a movie and a Broadway musical. Little orphan Annie was played by eighth grader, Casey Russo. This was her third year in the play and she claimed that the, “best part of being in the play(s) is working with everyone in the cast and crew. Everyone is so close by the end. It is something I really enjoy.”

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Likewise, Marissa Forte, better known as Miss Hannigan, has been involved with the Drama Club for three years. She was a lead role last year along with this year, but is extremely humble and passionate as she explained that, “It (the play) wouldn’t happen without the help of the parents. The play wouldn’t be half as good if they hadn’t supplied us with lighting, props, outfits, food and even pep talks!” Marissa and many other students could not have said more about the support of the parent volunteers. 

However, no one can forget about the truly fabulous work that both Faliveno and Priori have done. The amount of time and effort they put into these productions is incredible, but rewarding. The cast and crew have learned so much from their advisors. In fact, much of the cast was at a loss of words when describing their advisors. The students expressed the greatest amount of gratitude for how they help them perform on stage, but also for simultaneously building their confidence levels up inside and outside of school.

Year after year the Drama Club at Valleyview presents the crowd with energy, creative choreography, exceptional props and stage crew, impressive vocals, and stellar acting, that it is no wonder new students join each year. Eighth grader Sean Doyle was a first year participant who took on the role of Daddy Warbucks. He, along with the entire cast and crew were a joy to watch as they interacted so well with one another on and off stage.

As the show came to a close on May 2, there were a fair amount of tears shed by the cast, mostly the eigth graders. Director Faliveno spoke to the audience about multiple things, but the tears came as she announced the Performing Arts Booster Club decided to give a scholarship to a graduating eighth grader this year. The new scholarship will be given to a graduating eigth grader who plans to continue his or her involvement in the performing arts. 

The Performing Arts Booster Club works to raise money for the shows each and every year, and even for future shows. The PABC raises money to help cover the cost of lighting, orchestra, costumes, props, set design, materials, and other production costs.

Faliveno would like to extend a special thank you to the PABC and their officers, President Stacey Merrill, Vice Presidents Robin Russo, Lisa Forte, and Debbie Mahn, Secretary Jennifer Cifrodella and Treasurer Lauren Cook. 

Although majority of the cast felt as if “Hard Knock Life” was the most exciting scene to watch the spectators can assure you that the play in its entirety was remarkable.

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