Anticipating Annie

Huge scale of fall musical makes for big challenges

Senior Maddie Frost embraces Annie in the Tiger Theatre Company’s dress rehearsal of the play “Annie.” The show opens Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Sullivan Performing Arts Center on the Campus of Texas High School.

Story by Doug Kyles, Editor-in-Chief

Make way for “Annie,” brought by the Tiger Theatre Company. The Great Depression era show is on track to become one of TTC’s biggest shows in years. The musical itself is a monster, with 40 plus speaking parts and nearly 20 musical numbers; add in the large number of elementary students that must be managed at every rehearsal, and this show quickly becomes one of the most difficult to conquer in years.

“The big goal was to do a musical that will incorporate everyone throughout the grade levels, to help show the theater program to the elementary school,” director Bonnie Flieder said.

High schoolers, middle schoolers and elementary schoolers all work differently in the theater environment. And when these students are working together in the same scenes simultaneously, catering to each age group and their needs can make for many issues.

“The diversity of ages and skill is probably the hardest thing,” Flieder said. “Our youngest cast member is 4 years old, and our oldest cast members are adults. It’s coordinating their schedules and fitting it in within all the daily lives that students have that’s made it difficult.”

Despite the clear challenges in creating “Annie,” those involved in the show are confident that all the work will pay off.

“[Audience members] are getting to see one of the first city-wide shows that we’re doing because we’re also doing this in conjunction with St. James [Day School],” Flieder said. “It’s the first one we’ve done in quite a number of years, plus, it’s the centennial show for the company. I think it really highlights that diversity that we have here at TISD, and that’s a fun thing to come view.”

Flieder is a new name to many at Texas High, and this show will actually be her first as head director. All this considered, she still remains undaunted by the task at hand.

“Luckily, since coming in as the assistant director I’ve either taught all of the middle schoolers, or I’ve worked with most of the high schoolers in some capacity,” Flieder said. “I’m not nervous, just determined to get it right.”

The director is only part of the equation of course. “Annie’s” sheer scale leaves a lot to be accomplished in terms of the set. The musical and moving nature of many scenes requires the scenery to be specially designed.

“In a musical, the scenery has to come out, be danced on, and immediately get offstage, and because it moves pretty quickly, everything’s got to be on wheels,” technical director Trent Hanna said. “There’s a lot of scenery, and a lot of it’s heavy. Coming up with the mechanisms to make all that happen has been tricky.”

The show must go on, however, and note, it’s more than the set that has been challenging thus far. The high schoolers behind the lead roles in this show are feeling the pressure.

“My favorite part has been working with orphans,” senior Maddie Frost said. “They have a lot of energy, and whenever I don’t have energy, they always bring my energy back up.”

“Annie” will show on Nov. 4- 5 and 8 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, and can be purchased at

“It’s becoming a beautiful story,” Frost said. “It’s gonna be a good show.”