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Richardton-Taylor High School to present classic musical, 'Annie'

Miss Hannigan (Samantha Steiner) and her brother, Rooster, (Marshall Ziegler) sing "Easy Street" while Rooster's girlfriend (Bailey Isaak) looks on during a rehearsal scene from "Annie" on Tuesday at Richardton-Taylor High School.1 / 2
Annie (Bailey Paulson) sings "Tomorrow" with Mr. Warbucks (Justin Hance) at her side in the President's Roosevelt's cabinet room during rehearsal for "Annie" on Tuesday at Richardton-Taylor High School.2 / 2

RICHARDTON — The Richardton-Taylor High School theater and music departments will present the musical “Annie,” the timeless story of an 11-year-old orphan girl whose only wish is to find her parents.

The performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Richardton-Taylor gymnasium.

The musical opens in the Municipal Girls Orphanage during 1933. Annie is aware of a note written by her parents saying they would return to pick her up, but they never came back.

Meanwhile, billionaire Oliver Warbucks comes to the orphanage asking for an orphan to spend the Christmas holidays with him. Their relationship grows until Mr. Warbucks agrees to post a $50,000 reward to find her parents. The action becomes more complicated when orphanage director, Miss Hannigan (Samantha Steiner) and her brother, Rooster (Marshall Ziegler), try to claim the reward.

Senior Justin Hance portrays Mr. Warbucks while seventh-grader Bailey Paulson brings her voice to Annie.

“I think the play is more than just about an orphan,” Hance said. “There’s a lot of underlying meaning to my character, specifically how people get caught up in business and don’t pay attention to family or what really matters.”

Paulson auditioned for the part of Annie because she loves the movie.

“Annie is optimistic about everything,” she said.

 “Miss Hannigan is crabby all the time — she’s exhausted from running an orphanage probably because the Depression has worn her out,” Steiner said. “The musical has lots of high moments and comedic relief. It’s touching, and there’s a lot of good songs that we worked very hard on.”

The production is under the artistic direction of Sue Anderson and Gae Zentner and music direction of Barb Bemis and Catie Hoselton.

Anderson selected “Annie” as an opportunity to encourage the talent of junior high students and to showcase the talent of the high school students.

Rusty Bender from Bismarck is choreographing the show.

“We have a lot of jazzed up and incredible choreography,” Anderson said.

In addition, New York actor Job Christenson was available to offer his expertise.

“He worked with the students on acting techniques and with the scenes — he brought a Broadway approach to it,” Anderson said.

Tickets are $6 for adults; $4 for students.

Linda Sailer