Long Branch High School has had a rich tradition of school theater over the years winning many competitions and awards. Last nights opening performance of Annie has to be near the top of all time performances.
The Westwood Players Ensemble directed by Mr. Chip Heptig was focused, on-time, and enjoyable to the nearly full house. The High school pit band directed by Mr. Robert Clark and Mr. Howard Whitmore gave everyone a true sense of Broadway with music that allowed the actors to flow, and the audience to feel a part of it all. Set designer Kevin Gunther produced visually appealing props that easily moved from scene to scene by a quick and efficient tech staff. From costumes to lighting, everything was excellent topping off some great acting and singing performances.
Staring as "Annie" is freshmen Joelle Rosen who seemed a perfect fit for the role. Her portrayal was excellent, but simply blew the audience away with her singing and dancing skills. Warbucks played by veteran Eddie Rogers with shaved head and all, was wonderful and carried a true stage presents with his clear projecting voice. Playing Warbucks assistant "Grace Farrell" is Emily Ahrens, and "Butler Drake" is Ryan McGlennon who both gave great performances seamlessly interacting their parts throughout the show. Jordan McKinzie played the mean-spirited orphanage master "Hannigan", and was just fabulous! Sam Raymond and Andrea Gomez portrayed "Rooster and Lily" the deceiving get rich duo perfectly and Kevin Nunes did some double duty playing the parts of radio show host "Burt Healy" and "President Roosevelt". If this was not enough, make sure your not late to the show. The dancing and signing performances by the "orphans/servents/rocketts" was Choreographed perfectly by Mrs. Meagan Ruland, that provided the foundation for a great performance.
So come out and support these Long Branch students, you will not regret it. The show will continue Friday March 16 and conclude on Saturday March 17th, 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium.