Arts & Entertainment

Holy Savior Academy to Present ‘Annie Jr.’ in May

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Gwen Nieves as ‘Miss Hannigan,' Ava Waldron as ‘Annie,’ and other students cast as orphans rehearse for Holy Savior Academy's upcoming production of 'Annie, Jr.'
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Holy Savior Academy's production of 'Annie, Jr.' will star Ava Waldron, as ‘Annie,’ Jamie Metz as 'Grace Farrell,' and Joseph Paglia as ‘Daddy Warbucks.’
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Holy Savior Academy 8th grade Joseph Paglia rehearses a scene for the school's upcoming production of 'Annie, Jr' where he will play the role of ‘Daddy Warbucks.'
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Gwen Nieves, a 7th grader at Holy Savior Academy, will play ‘Miss Hannigan' in the school's May production of 'Annie, Jr.'
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Holy Savior Academy fifth grader Ava Waldron will star as ‘Annie’ in the school's upcoming production of 'Annie, Jr.'
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The 'orphans' in 'Annie, Jr.'
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The cast of Holy Savior Academy's upcoming production of 'Annie, Jr.' rehearse 'It's a Hard Knock Life."
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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Rehearsals are currently under way for Holy Savior Academy 3rd Annual Spring Musical. This year’s production of Annie Jr. will be performed at the South Plainfield school on Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5.

“I am really excited about the talent in this show and the students’ commitment,” said Susan Loughlin, music teacher at Holy Savior and musical director of the school’s spring production. This production is a great way to bring all four of the art standards– music, dance, drama, and art – together in one show.”

Auditions for Annie Jr. began at the end of January and rehearsals, held after school three days a week, started in February. A total of 60 Holy Savior students in third through eighth grade are involved with the production, serving as members of either the cast or crew.

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In addition to Loughlin, the show is being put together with assistance from pre-K teacher Eva Tripodi as technical director and fifth grade teacher Daneile Micale as stage director along with assistance from parents.

"Working with this cast and crew is an amazing experience,” said Tripodi. “They are an extremely dedicated, hardworking, and talented group.”

An age-appropriate version of the classic musical Annie, Holy Savior’s rendition of Annie Jr. will run for an hour and a half and feature Ava Waldron (5th grade) as ‘Annie,’ Joseph Paglia (8th grade) as ‘Daddy Warbucks,’ Jamie Metz (7th grade) as 'Grace Farrell,' and Gwen Nieves (7th grade) as ‘Miss Hannigan.’

“All of the kids are very talented and I never knew so many of our kids could sing,” said Micale, adding, “We are happy that with this production, everyone who tried out got a part, whether it be in the cast, crew or the ensemble.”

As the title character, Ava said she is really looking forward to playing ‘Annie.’ “I am excited and nervous,” Ava told TAPinto, adding, “People should come see it because it’s going to be really good.”

Jamie said her favorite thing about Annie is the music and feels the play will resonate with many. “It’s a fun play and everyone knows the story of ‘Annie,’” she said.

Gwen said she is looking forward to playing ‘Miss Hannigan.’ “She’s a really fun character to be and I love that I get to sing her song Little Girls,” said Gwen, adding, “The dances and the songs are great and I am really excited about performing and seeing how the audience reacts.”

For Joe, this year’s spring musical is bittersweet since it is his last as a student at Holy Savior. In the past, he has held lead roles in the school’s productions of Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz and, in 2016, showcased his piano playing skills as Charlie Brown’s ‘Schroder.’

Annie is a classic and we have good actors and dedicated teachers and parents who put their heart in this.”

Holy Savior Academy’s production of Annie Jr. will be held at 7 p.m. on both May 4 and May 5. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the door.

“Money raised through tickets will support of the ongoing development of our school’s drama program,” said Loughlin.

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