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Preparation is underway for Alpine Community Theater’s production of  “Annie.”

The family-oriented play marks ACT’s ninth production and will be showing July 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14 and 16 at Timberline Middle School.  ACT is a non-profit organization, and the shows’ casts are volunteers from the community. “Annie” features two sets of cast members that will split the performances. This means there are two actresses playing the lead role of Annie, a role that calls for a young actress.

This will be the first time actress Ashlyn Patterson will be performing a lead role. Patterson explained that she’s excited for the opportunity to play Annie. Harper Mcgee, 13, was cast as the other Annie. When asked if the work is stressful McGee explained that she doesn’t see it as work.

“I just consider this fun,” McGee said. “I think I’m better at working when something is fun, rather than when I’m not enjoying it.”

Youth aren’t just involved in the acting side of the show. They also have opportunities to work behind the scenes. Chloe Cox, a middle school student, assists the lead choreographer for “Annie” as well as holding her own acting role in the play.”

If a lead choreographer is gone, I’m the one that runs the dances with the kids,” Cox said. “We have some great choreographers and music directors. It’s really easy for these kids to pick up on the dances. These kids are amazing.”

“Annie” calls for a variety of ages for cast members, bringing opportunities for children and their parents to get involved in the play. For Rob Chatwin, one of the actors for the lead role in Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, the play is a family affair. Chatwin’s wife and son also have roles in the play.

“I’ve got two sons in the play,” said Nathan Ellison, another actor for “Daddy” Warbucks. “That’s what’s great about the spirit [ACT] creates in this community. It’s about family as well as performing and having a top notch production.”

Community participation and family involvement play a large role in ACT’s ability to put on award-winning productions. Laura Snyder, founder and director of ACT, assisted in managing a few local shows when she first moved to Utah from Georgia.

“The whole community just lit up,” Snyder said. “They were so excited about bringing theater back. They hadn’t done it in so long.”

When asked if there is ever any difficulty casting a certain demographic, Snyder said that finding enough teenage boys for roles may sometimes be hard.

“You got to dance, and have partner dances,” Snyder said. “Sometimes it’s hard getting the men out, but I tell you, once they do, they come back year after year. You get them hooked.”


Life writer