A sneak peek: Backstage look at NU’s version of the play ‘Annie’ – Video and photo gallery included | TheUnion.com

A sneak peek: Backstage look at NU’s version of the play ‘Annie’ – Video and photo gallery included

The dressing room at the Nevada Union High school was bustling ” teenagers rushed in and out through the black double doors, some breaking into songs, some dancing their way around, joking, giggling, bursting with excitement.

Just a couple of hours away from Thursday’s preview night show of “Annie,” the Broadway musical, the young actors and actresses were in a different world, of fun and anticipation.

The heroine of the play, Annie, performed by 14-year-old Lauren Pierce, stood patiently on one side of the large black-painted room, while a middle-aged lady meticulously groomed her long, brown hair.

“I am really nervous right now,” Pierce said, smiling to reveal her braces. “This is my first real big play. I’m never really been so stressed out before a play, but it’s a stress mixed with excitement.”

The two main roles in the play ” that of Annie and Daddy Warbucks ” had been double-cast.

“There were two reasons (for double-casting the roles),” said Rob Metcalfe, theatre teacher at the Nevada Union. “The first reason was I had two actors audition who were equally good. So I cast them into the roles giving them each five performances. The second reason was that they have a strong song load and so if one of their voices go off, I have a backup.”

Unlike Pierce, the second Annie, 16-year-old Therese Meyer, seemed more confident. Dressed in a light peach colored frock with grey, brown and green floral patches, and a matching peach bonnet, Meyer was thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to play the lead.

“It’s a dream-come-true for me because I have been watching the movie since I was 5 years old,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of musical theatres, so having to do a lot of songs and rehearsals is not out of the ordinary.

“There are always a few butterflies in your stomach before you go in, but I try to use it … It gives you a lot of energy and you get pumped up.”

Matt Kronzer, 17, dressed in a grey waistcoat, white shirt, and black suit, is one of two Daddy Warbucks. With some grey streaks added to his sideburns, and his dark hair parted and neatly combed with gel, he looked much older than his age, as his role demanded.

“I’m kind of excited,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I know I’ve had a problem with public speaking in the sense that being in front of a big audience makes me nervous. I’ve been doing drama; this is my second year. Doing more and more performances got me more used to it.”

Kronzer was eagerly expecting his friends and family at the night’s performance.

Catie Cleary, the choreographer, was optimistic about the quality of the performance.

“I’ve worked with these guys and they have a passion for performing and they’ve worked really hard with everything they’ve done,” she said.

Cleary graduated from Nevada Union last year, and though, at first, it was daunting for her to direct people close to her age, she soon found a way to make things work.

“As we went along (with the rehearsals), I got more into the groove of things,” she said. “I could tell they were really interested to learn, and it became a fun experience.”

The minutes ticked away. The excitement reached a feverish pitch. The actors played funky music in the dressing room, possibly to soothe their nerves. A fawn-colored labrador rummaged through the heaps of clothes lying everywhere on the floor and on the blue molded chairs of the room.

“I think a lot of people are going to like it (the play),” Cleary said, glancing at the stage, and giving a hesitant, nervous smile. “There’s a lot in here for all ages.”

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