‘Annie’ comes to life at NHS Thursday

NEGAUNEE — Hundreds of Negaunee High School students have spent the last few weeks learning about the importance of teamwork, community activism and the “Hard Knock Life,” as they prepared to present “Annie” the musical this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the NHS auditorium.

The musical, about an orphan who is adopted by a wealthy businessman during the 1930s, addresses topics that are still relevant in current times.

Bonitia Symons, co-director of the musical, said hunger and children going without essentials in life are themes from the musical that resonate in society today.

“The kids sing a song about empty bellies, instead of full,” Symons said. “We don’t want any kids in Negaunee to have empty bellies. For some students, the breakfast and lunch they receive at school may be the only source of nutritious food they might get.”

That’s why a portion of the proceeds from the production are going to Miner Packs, a program that provides Negaunee Public School students in need with a package filled with nutritious food, both perishable and nonperishable items, on the last day of the school week.

“There are hungry children out there and the Miner Packs program for the Negaunee schools is a wonderful program,” Symons said.

The most challenging thing with such a large production, which also features a live orchestra, is finding rehearsal time that works for everyone, Symons said.

“Finding the time to get everyone to rehearsals and work around the schedules of other activities like sports and other clubs is the biggest challenge,” she explained.

Despite the hard work, Symons said the production has been gratifying for all involved.

“One of the most exciting things that I see is the amount of interest and participation from the students. This is a huge production,” Symons said. “Everyone seems to have a good time, most of the time, and the kids are learning a lot about working together.”

She said the success of the show is not just due to the hard work of the actors.

“Emmye (Wiig) for example, if we didn’t have her … you know you see these kids coming onstage and saying their lines, but it’s when they get into costume that the show really starts to come to life,” Symons said. “(And) Kelli Bucholtz is amazing. She has taken the bull by the horns; she has gone forward and gotten everything done that needed to be done. She is an amazing director.”

She said she would like to see all seats at the NHS auditorium filled for every production.

“It would be great to have three nights of full house,” she said. “Those kids have been working really hard and deserve to have a full house.”

Tickets for “Annie” are $10 for adults and $5 for high school-age students and younger. They are available at the NHS office, Midtown Bakery and Cafe in Negaunee and Snowbound Books in Marquette, or can be purchased at the door.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.