Fifth grade pupils at Whittier Elementary School presented Annie Jr. last week to appreciative audience members. Music teacher Evan McIntyre directed the ambitious production. The 60-minute musical, designed for upper-elementary and middle school aged performers, is based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning Best Musical by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. It tells the story of a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents. The musical was presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International in New York City.
McIntyre said the fifth grade musical is a special project for Whittier students because they not only select what to perform, but they collaborate with the directors and their peers throughout the entire process. In preparation for the show, the children helped choreograph musical numbers; contributed staging and acting ideas; designed tickets and posters for advertising purposes; created backdrops, props, and masks; and they operated the sound, music, and lighting. “It was truly their production,” he said.