Annie visits Southmont this weekend

Photo courtesy of Southmont Jr.-Sr. High School. Purchasae tickets for any of the three performances at under Southmont.

Leaping Lizards! You’ll want to “stick out your chin and grin” and sing when Southmont Jr.-Sr. High school performs Annie JR. Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday afternoon at 2 in the Southmont Auditorium.

Based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning best musical by Tony Award-winners, Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie JR. tells the story of a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents.

The classic, heartwarming musical follows the title character Annie, portrayed by Southmont sixth grader Alicia France, as she lives the “hard-knock life” at The New York City Municipal Orphanage. France, a veteran of a few Vanity Theater youth productions, is making her Southmont drama club debut. She says the experience has been thoroughly rewarding.

“I was so shocked the day I found out I had been cast as Annie!” France said, recalling her joy at the opportunity to play the coveted role.

France’s excitement for the project only grew as she began working with her castmates and directors. “I’ve made so many new friends because of the show. Getting to be a part of this production has turned into one of the biggest and best memories of my life!”

France’s enthusiasm is shared by her fellow actress and Southmont freshman Kelsey Thompson, who is relishing her turn as the cruel and mercurial orphanage matron, Miss Hannigan.

“Hannigan has always been a dream role of mine,” Thompson effused, “because she is so fun to play and has almost no limits.”

Thompson also raved about the musical’s songs and score. “’Little Girls’ is easily one of my favorite solos I’ve ever gotten to perform. Really all of the songs in the show are great.”

Catchy songs and a touching story about the true nature of family make for a compelling combo as the musical follows little orphan Annie on her fun-filled adventures. Convinced that her real parents are out there and determined to find them, Annie enlists the help of her fellow orphans (Maggie Gilliland, Jessica Starnes, Layla Gomez, Naomi Plunkett, Molly Williams, Lexi Weiler, Roslyn Keck, Lennon Woods, Addison Kendricks, Camryn Priebe, Isla Stetler, Reva Douglas and Keirston Archer) on her quest.

An unexpected opportunity sends Annie to the home of billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Thomas Woods), where she steals not only his heart, but also the hearts of his personal secretary Grace Farrell (Kylee Reeves) and the rest of the mansion staff (Jimmy Clester, Zoe Albertson, Indeya Albertson, Emilee Wethington, Avery Hannum and Madlyn Roberts).

Looking to cash in on Annie’s new situation, Miss Hannigan (Thompson), her charlatan brother Rooster (Tovi Powell) and his colorful girlfriend Lily (Evelyn Zachary) attempt to swindle Warbucks and deprive Annie of her new life. Only the help of President Roosevelt (Bryor Johnson), his assistant Louis Howe (Jordan Endicott) and a cast of colorful New York City denizens (Solomon Mason, Hillary Haltom, Hunter Thompson, Clair Simpson, Lilly Bushong, Keigan Reed, Kelsie Buck, Emma Gleason, and Astrid Rabeyrin) can set things to right and ensure that the sun will truly come out tomorrow for Annie and her friends (with Isabella Cade, Gavin Gray, Natalie Hester, Grace Klein, Creek Plemons as crew).

Annie JR. is appropriate for all ages and tickets may be purchased online (only) at under Southmont. The production is artistically directed by Amy Woodall, musically directed by Sarah Fadil and choreographed by Alivia Williams. Nicole Thompson serves as the show’s producer.

Annie JR. is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by Music Theatre International 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY, (212) 541-4684,