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WMAAA's ‘Annie Jr.’ opens May 3

Krystle Wagner • Apr 27, 2018 at 2:00 PM

FERRYSBURG — After months of rehearsals and hard work, the curtain will rise for the musical production of “Annie Jr.” at the West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics.

The production runs May 3-4 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 5, in the school’s theater. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students, and can be purchased in the school office or at the door.

The production is under the direction of Mandy DeBoer. Danielle Kaye is the choreographer.

The academy’s spring musical is giving sixth-grader Mia Spero, who has been in theater since she was 6, the chance to take her acting to the next level. She is stepping into her first lead role as she plays Annie, an orphan who searches for her birth parents.

Spero said one challenge she’s worked through has been singing in a higher octave. The 12-year-old said she’s also learned that being a lead requires studying scripts and music every day.

“I realize the hard work the leads put in,” she said.

Emma Mireles, 14, brings to life the character of Miss Hannigan, who manages the orphanage where Annie lived. The eighth-grader said the character is loud and not nice to the children, which has provided a new experience for her.

Getting to know other students and develop friendships has been among the favorite parts of being involved in the musical, Mireles said.

Eighth-grader Austin Harp is Oliver Warbucks, the billionaire who takes in Annie. Although he wasn’t familiar with “Annie” prior to the school production, the 14-year-old said he likes the show since he’s become familiar with it over the past few months.

“It’s a great show,” Harp said.

It’s the first time Harp has played a serious role, which he said has challenged him as an actor, but he’s had fun with it.

Seeing fellow students become familiar with their characters, and watching the set and characters come to life on stage has been Charlotte Ostric’s favorite part of the production. The eighth-grader plays Grace Farrell, the secretary to Warbucks. Ostric said she loves watching the “Annie” movie with her younger sister.

The cast has been working on the production since their auditions in January.

“We’ve worked really hard on this,” Sepro said.

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