BANGS — The Bangs High School theater department will present the most ambitious project in perhaps its history with the presentation of “Annie Jr.” this weekend.
“This is the first musical for Bangs ISD, and with a cast and crew of nearly 50 students and one adult on stage, it will be the largest production undertaken on this stage,” director Gina Aplin, who has been teaching at Bangs High for four years, said.
Tickets for the dinner theater Friday and Saturday can be ordered by calling 752-6822 or through any Bangs High theater students. Tickets cost $12, and may be purchased in advance until 3:30 p.m. on the day of each show.
The dinner will begin at the Bangs High cafetorium at 6 p.m., and the show will start at 7 p.m. The dinner menu will feature stew, cornbread, side items, salad and cobbler, served by the “Bangs Orphans.”
“With actors and techies ranging in age from 4 years old to 54 years old, you can tell that this was quite an undertaking,” Aplin said. Her assistant director is her husband, Dustin Aplin, who is the school district’s network consultant.
Heading up the cast as Daddy Warbucks is Bangs High assistant principal Chuck Christian, a former band director. Playing Annie is senior theater student Megan Cooper, who is a state-qualifying vocalist who has been in the Bangs theater program since she was a freshman. She plans on majoring in musical theater in college.
Playing Grace Farrell is Emilee Thomason, a senior student who plans to major in photography in college.
The antagonists in the show — Miss Hannigan, Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis — are being played by senior Meghan Blake, sophomore Clay Brim and junior Andreana Johnson.
“Meghan has been in the program since her freshman year and plans to major in theater and graphic design when she graduates,” Aplin said. “This is Clay’s first time on stage for the Bangs Theater Department. Andreana has graced this stage many times in the past and plans to continue to do so.”
Other cast members are Stori Arnold, Sarah Bartek, Grant Bear, Emalee Blankenship, Misti Blankenship, Erica Bright, Lakyn Dent, Natasha Diaz, Lindley Drosche, Nikki Drosche, Lisa Embry, Tyler Fuqua, Lexie Frietze, Layne Garcia, Lorelle Garcia, Matt Gonzalez, Logan Graham, Jessica Hardaway, Katie Jackson, Megan Jackson, Dylan Koen, Kady Kyle, Tailor Langwell, Jorden Mason, Taryn McCombs, Shiloh Morris, Larry Miller, Kylnn Shumate, Ruth Tapley, Tia Tarpley, Jessica Ramirez, Zak Webb, Alexus Witt and Rachel Willard.
The crew is led by senior Tech Head JJ Redmon, who plans to make technical theater one of her majors after graduation. The crew consists of stage manager Whitney Patterson, Matt Daunis, Becca Johnson, Monica Martin, Amanda McCombs, Jacklyn McKee, Jessica Melvin, Kady Melvin and Micheal Williams.
Proceeds from the production will go toward funding of future productions and to help students travel to England this summer.
Aplin said “Annie” ran for nearly six years on Broadway, won the Tony Award for best musical, spawned numerous productions in many countries and was featured in national tours. The show includes musical favorites like “Maybe,” “Easy Street,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” and “Tomorrow.”
The musical is based on the Harold Gray comic Strip “Little Orphan Annie,” and the music is by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan. It was presented on Broadway by Mike Nichols.