Musical ‘Annie’ takes the MFL MarMac stage Nov. 9-10

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Abby Schellhorn (left) will play the lead role in MFL MarMac’s fall musical, “Annie.” Max Koeller will portray Oliver Warbucks and Riley Whitney his secretary, Grace Farrell. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Emma Ammons can be seen as the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan and Nick Stavroplus as her ne’er-do-well brother, Rooster.

“Annie” will feature many classic tunes, such as “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” Ruby Koeller, Abby Schellhorn and Maria Stavroplus perform the number here.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The MFL MarMac fine arts department will present “Annie” for this year’s fall musical. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, then at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, all in the high school auditorium, in Monona. 

Originally a Broadway musical based off the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” “Annie” has also had several film adaptations, most notably the 1982 movie starring Aileen Quinn, Carol Burnett and Albert Finney. 

The story is set in Depression-era New York City, where Annie, with half a locket as her only possession, is living in an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie is later taken in by billionaire Oliver Warbucks, but when he wishes to adopt her, she declines, hoping instead to be reunited with her parents. 

In an effort to help Annie, Warbucks offers a reward to find them. The search brings out many imposters, including Miss Hannigan’s brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily. They gain access to the other half of the locket, earning both Annie and the reward. When the plot is revealed, Annie is rescued and reunited with Warbucks, who eventually adopts her. 

The musical features many classic tunes, such as “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” Abby Schellhorn, who will play the lead role of Annie, hopes the audience will connect with the songs and the characters as much as she has. 

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to do the show,” she shared. “I’ve seen all the movies. I look like her. It just fits me well.” 

The red-headed Schellhorn is a freshman, but that didn’t stop her from trying out for the lead role. 

“It is really cool to be a freshman and be the top of the show,” she said. “It gives me a challenge. It’s important to me to live up to the expectations.” 

Junior Max Koeller, who’s been a key part of other musical productions, will portray Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. This will be his biggest role yet. 

“I’m excited about this one,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of smaller roles leading up to this. I think my voice and my acting has gotten a lot better. I think I’m better prepared to be a bigger part than I was in the past.” 

Senior Emma Ammons will take on the sassy Miss Hannigan, while sophomore Nick Stavroplus will play her ne’er-do-well brother Rooster. Senior Skylar Moser is slated as Rooster’s girlfriend Lily. The role of Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ secretary, is filled by sophomore Riley Whitney. 

Koeller said preparing for their parts is no easy task. 

“We go home from these practices exhausted,” he explained. “You have to be both mentally and physically here.” 

He hopes attendees will not only recognize that hard work, but also feel the message the students are conveying. 

“This show has contrast. My character is just one example,” Koeller said. “A lot of characters start out feeling one way. For me, I didn’t really care about anyone or anything but money. But toward the end, because of the actions of Annie, I feel a lot more empathy. I want people to feel that too.” 

Tickets for “Annie” are on sale now at the website showtix4u.com. Search for “MFL MarMac” to view available seats. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

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