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Fall musical: ‘Annie’ comes to Fairmont High School

“Annie” will be performed by students from Fairmont High School this upcoming week at the Performing Arts Center. Students are pictured dressed as orphans singing “It’s A Hard-Knock Life.”

FAIRMONT — “Annie” will be this year’s fall musical at Fairmont High School. The classic broadway show is set during the Depression era and includes a variety of songs and dances.

The musical’s director, Sara Gudahl, shared how they decided on picking this year’s show.

“Molly (Bleess) and I spent the summer looking for shows that we thought would be family friendly and fit the talent we knew we had at our school. “Annie” is a classic. We both loved it from our own childhood so we’re excited to make it happen,” Gudahl said.

In order to pull the production off, a big cast was required. There will be around 100 students on stage and in the aisles with another 30 in the pit orchestra and 10 doing technical work.

“It’s the most we’ve probably ever had,” Gudahl admitted, adding, “last year we did a smaller show which had fewer people and it was really technical. We’re kind of in a habit that every other year we want to do one of these big ones that include a lot of people.”

Students in grades 7-12 are in the musical, which is typical. Gudahl explained that 7th and 8th grades usually don’t have main roles until they’re older and have had a few years of experience, but because “Annie” requires 14 orphans, they’ve had to depend on some of the younger students to fill those roles.

There are about 10 or 11 songs in “Annie” that feature soloists as well as a number of ensembles. Gudahl said that there are also quite a few dance numbers in the show.

“We have such amazing dance talent in Fairmont with some of the great studios we have around here. The kids are so good at it that we thought we should highlight all the things our kids do well,” Gudahl said.

The run time for the show is around two hours and 10 minutes but Gudahl said they’re trying to shave it down to two hours.

“There are so many kids and the numbers are so big that the transitions take a bit longer to move the sets,” Gudahl explained.

There is an intermission during acts one and two in which Band Boosters will be selling treats and water for a small donation in order to help support their program.

Just as there’s a large number of students working to put on the production, there’s a team of people helping to support it in a variety of ways.

“I have a big team. There’s really no way I could do this by myself,” Gudahl admitted.

Molly Bleess does the vocals and Katie Koenning is the pit director. Mark Hernes does all the sound while Kristin Tietje and Courtney Steuber do the choreography. Mary Schmitt is the set builder and DeAnna Shaikoski has been doing the costume work, even creating a number from scratch.

“Annie” will be put on next week. A free senior citizen matinee will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7 Other show times will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets can be purchased for $7 at the door for adults. Children of all ages, regardless of what school they attend, will get in for free.

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