As the Humber Valley Vocal Club gets set to stage two productions of the musical “Annie Jr.,” organizers say there are a few things that will be different about each show.
With so much interest in the production, founder Krista Noble and program co-ordinator Melanie Moss decided to switch things up and have the children involved in the club take on different roles.
So while Rebecca Sullivan plays Annie in the first show on Saturday, Kendra Hynes will assume the role on Jan. 29.
Other kids will do the same with some taking on a character in one show and then being part of the ensemble in another.
The club is also trying something different when it comes the role of Sandy, Annie’s beloved dog.
Instead of having a child play the dog, Noble and Moss have cast two dogs in the role.
To choose the dog actors they invited the members of the club to bring in their own dogs for auditions on Jan. 8. And all the members voted on which of the five dogs they liked the best.
Rosie, a three-year-old Russian Bolonka, owned by Eva Parr will play Sandy in the first show and Henry, a nine-year-old golden retriever, owned by Seonaid Stark will take to the stage in the second show.
Eleven-year-old Parr is from Pasadena and joined the club this past September. She’ll play Miss Drake, the head servant in Mr. Warbuck’s mansion in the first show and a New Yorker in the second show.
She’s been involved in her school’s choir and has performed in concerts at school and at church, but this is her first time acting.
“I think it’s really fun, except for how we have to memorize our lines. That’s the only part I don’t really like.”
And that’s causing her to have some mixed feelings.
“I’m nervous and excited. I know all my lines and that’s good. But I’m nervous that I will forget my lines.”
Parr said Rosie is obedient and listens well, which is why she thought she’d be good for the role.
Also Sandy is a sandy colour and so is Rosie.
“So I thought that would be perfect.”
To get her ready, Parr and her family have been calling her Sandy and while she’s been responding Parr thinks it’s really funny.
And she lets out a big laugh when asked how she thinks Rosie will do.
“I don’t know if she’d just wander around, or bark at all the people there or if she’d actually listen and run over to Annie when she’s supposed to.”
Stark, 14, is from Deer Lake and has been with the club since last spring. She’s no stranger to the stage and arts as she’s also a member of Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s youth program, is in Dance Studio West and has attended musical theatre camps at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.
Joining the club was exciting as it was great to have something in theatre in her hometown.
“I love it. Especially musical theatre when you get to incorporate different dancing and singing into it too, and it’s always funny and over the top.
She plays Lily, the girlfriend of Miss Hannigan’s brother in the second show and is an extra in the first one.
“She’s in it for the money,” she said of Lily, who’s involved in pretending to be Annie’s parents.
Stark brought Henry out for the audition because he’s well behaved and as a trained therapy dog is used to being around people.
“And he loves attention,” she said.
Her family has also been getting Henry used to answering to Sandy and in hearing people sing to him.
“He’s pretty good,” said Stark.
But just in case her mom, Alison Stark, will be backstage.
No matter what happens, Noble is certain it will all add to the show.
Both versions of the musical will be staged at Elwood Elementary.