Monica Campbell, a sixth-grade member of Trojan Express, is taking center stage as her role of Annie in the musical.
“I have the part of Annie. Annie is a very strong person who can easily trick people and get what she wants. Annie lives in an orphanage with Ms. Hannigan until she is taken out by Mr. Warbucks. The rest of the show is about her finding a home with Mr. Warbucks,” Campbell said. “I really enjoyed this show because I had a lot of hard work; I had so many lines and lyrics to learn. Everyone has worked hard and all of the characters should be enjoyed, even if they are smaller, because it takes a full cast to make a musical. I couldn’t be Annie without the supporting characters. This show is just great because it is a comedy that has a lot of serious parts in with it.”
Kayleigh Grooms, another sixth-grader, is preparing for her role as Ms. Hannigan. She has appeared on stage in roles such as Cruella DeVille in 101 Dalmations, the narrator in Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, Jr., a cheerleader in Dear Edwina, Jr., a dancer in School House Rock, Jr., and plans to audition for a part in Portsmouth Little Theatre’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this summer.
“I have the part of Ms. Hannigan and I love it! I really like being the evil person. Ms. Hannigan is the mean, nasty orphanage owner who really hates Annie,” Grooms said. “This show is going to be the bomb. We’ve all worked really hard on it, and we’ve had a lot of support.”
Joshua “JJ” Johnson, a fifth-grader, is playing the role as Annie’s father figure, Mr. Warbucks.
“I am Mr. Warbucks, the manager of big companies,” Johnson said. “Mr. Warbucks doesn’t do anything in the beginning of the show. Grace then gets Annie and he doesn’t like her at all, but by the end he really starts to like her and it’s Christmas!”
Micah Simmons, another fifth-grader, is playing the role of Rooster, Ms. Hannigan’s brother. He has appeared on stage in shows such as The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Beauty and the Beast, Jr., 101 Dalmatians, Jr., several college productions and also plans to audition for a part in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“Rooster is a con-artist who comes up with the idea to steal the $50,000 from Oliver Warbucks. I really like that I am finally a villain for once!” Simmons said. “We have been working extremely hard on the show; it’s going to be really great. Anyone who comes to watch the show will love it.”
Rooster’s counterpart and love interest, Lily St. Regis, is played by sixth-grader Emily Hicks. She was cast in last year’s Schoolhouse Rock, Live!, Jr., when her performance caught the director’s eye. “Emily did such a great job as an ensemble member last year that I knew she had to have a lead this year,” Director Stephanie Carey said.
“I like playing Lily,” Hicks said, “Because she’s really girly. Since that’s how I am in person, it’s easy, kind of.”
Sixth-grader Ryann Campbell prepares for her part as Grace. Ryann is no stranger to the stage, having been in many shows. Ryann also plans to audition for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“Grace is Oliver Warbucks’ secretary, but she is like Mr. Warbucks’ conscience by guiding him,” Campbell said. “She is the one who picks Annie up from the orphanage and brings her home.”
Jordan Willis, a fifth grade member of Trojan Express, plays her role in the show as New York’s future star. Jordan has been in many shows and plans on audition for PLT’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“I love being here with all of my friends, performing on stage in front of the school and community,” Willis said. “People should really come and support our school and see our show, they won’t be let down!”
Portsmouth Elementary is opening the curtains at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, in the Portsmouth Elementary School Auditeria. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for students. Reserve tickets are on sale now at the school. Guests are reminded to use the Fourth Street entrance to enter.