My ANNIE Experience
By Charlotte Steckart, a Choral Orphan
TRYOUTS FOR ANNIE
It seems like a century ago that I was waiting for my turn in tryouts. The part that I really wanted was Pepper, but it turned out that I got a choral orphan part. But it was fun anyways. I was feeling very nervous. I think Annie was too (her real name is Emily). We had to do some choreography, we had to do some vocals, and then we had to do the acting for the parts we wanted to try out for.
Here I am at Stage North for tryouts.
I got called back a second time. I had to sing "Tomorrow" on the stage for the director, with some kids watching. On that day my vocals teacher made us sing very loud because it was a small theatre, because there isn't any echo. And then, I got the big news in an email. My part in the play was a choral orphan. At first, I was like, "A choral orphan?" and then thought, I can do that anyways, and I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be a blast!!!
At choreography, at first I thought this was boring and hard. Especially stretches. My dance teacher named Allison pushed my back down while doing kind of like the splits, only you sit with your legs spread out, but not fully spread out. Then we had to lay on our back with our legs up and spread out the same way, only in the air. She pushed our legs down. She said I would hurt the next day, and she was right!
Then we started with the dance for the "Hard Knock Life". If you saw the play, it was very hard for Allison to make up her mind. We changed it a couple of practices. For example, we were going to stand on the beds, but then the beds were too small and it was very hard to do that. She called us, the ones on the bed then, Beddies. Then there were some Broomies. I ended up standing on a bed and the principles were on the floor scrubbing in an arrow. For our other song, "Never Fully Dressed" actually got to do free dancing in the middle of it. I was in front for most of that song.
My teacher was Liz and she was there for tryouts. For warmups we would be at the piano at the bar. What we did for warmups, we would say, ma ma ma ma ma ma ma, or la la la la la la, or ze ze ze ze ze ze ze, or moo moo moo moo moo moo moo. We learned not to scoop, which is going up and down again with your voice and hitting the note hard. A high note is a C and it took a lot of practice to get to a C. I learned that when I sing a high note, that I have to sing from my forehead. I liked all the songs and dances I was in.
Blocking is when the director tells you where to stand and what to do while the acting is going on. Sometimes it took a really long time because there was a lot of stops and starts to make sure everything was perfect.
This was kinda the same thing like blocking. Stops and starts and starts and stops. They would say HOLD. And we would have to stay in character in our place on stage so they could fix the lighting and make sure everything is perfect.
The orchestra was in the pit in center stage. We could see Jamie's head sticking up out of the pit. He was the orchestra director. We had to make our dance go together with the music. At first we rehearsed to music on a CD but then we got the orchestra. It was hard at first because it was the same as the lighting. If the orchestra didn't get the tune right, they would say HOLD. The last show was the BEST show! We got our director Heather on stage, and the set crew and the orchestra. It was so much fun.
It was so busy that we had two Grammas to come over and watch my brother and sister when my mom took me to my performances. The schedule looked like this:
Tuesday 2-15 Dress Rehearsal 7:30, Wednesday 2-16 Preview 7:30, 2-17 7:30, 2-18 7:30, 2-19 2:00 & 7:30, 2-20 2:00, 2-24 7:30, 2-25 7:30, 2-26 2:00 & 7:30, 2-27 2:30. On the days I had two shows, I was at the theatre for 11 hours!
THE DRESSING ROOM
The dressing room was filled with a bunch of girls, the choral orphans and the understudies. One girl was named Ki-Lin and we had lots of fun. We would play on a DS, some would draw, and some would play "Honey, I Love You" and other fun games like that.
Once the big girls dropped a paper clip chain on some string with an envelope attached to it down to the bar tender and asked for some candy. He sent up a bag of popcorn and a couple candy bars. It was very funny.
Our costumes were very cool. We hung our costumes on a costume rack. Our shoes were lined up neatly (my mom did that) under our costumes. Terry made our costumes and the bags that we would put our stuff in.
Performing was the greatest thing of all, because you knew everyone was enjoying the play so much. You knew they loved it. When I was waiting for my turn back stage, I was so excited like "Let's do this thing!" and then also tired at the same time. I want to sing on stage again, a lot! I will always be open to any play there is.
Location:Stage North, Washburn, WI