HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- The Hasbrouck Heights High School Drama Club will be presenting an American classic musical, "Annie," at Kiefer Auditorium. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. A special complementary show for senior citizens will be performed on Wednesday, March 25 at 12 noon.

Set in 1933 in New York City, the show follows the story of an orphan, Annie, who is taken in by millionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. The musical debuted on Broadway in 1977.

This year's musical is again under the direction of Paula Jacobs.  Assisting is Vocal Music Director Antoinette Gierut.

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"I strive to select plays that the community will genuinely look forward to attending," said Jacobs. "I love to focus on bringing people together to not only celebrate, but pay tribute to the performing arts."

There are three seniors in this year's production. Ashley Annichiarico plays Miss Hannigan, Steven Kelly plays Rooster Hannigan, and Nicholas Zarrello is Daddy Warbucks.

Again this year, the cast will feature a dog, Louie, playing the role of Sandy, the abandoned mix-breed dog that Annie rescues. Louie is also a rescue. She is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Hound mix, according to her stage mom, Shannon Rodenberg, a Language Arts teacher at Hasbrouck Heights High School. Louie is also a certified therapy dog, and has joined the cast during some rehearsals.

"The fact that this is my second high school musical in a row featuring a dog is, believe it or not, a total coincidence, but they add so much joy to a production," said Jacobs.

Auditions were held in early January. The cast consists of 20 high school students, and five middle schoolers who play the orphans. The back-stage production crew has been designing and painting the sets, which were re-purposed from last year's production, "The Wizard of Oz."


(Editor's Note: The article was updated to include the seniors' roles.)


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