Theater department to perform “Annie Jr.” as Johnson’s first musical


Ava Swanson

The main cast of “Annie Jr.” bows to the crowd after completing their performance on press night.

Ava Swanson, Editor

The theater department will put on Johnson’s first musical, “Annie Jr.” on Friday at 7 p.m. After this opening night, the cast and crew will perform again in the Black Box Theater on Saturday at 2 p.m., Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. General admission is $10, but students and Hays CISD staff can be admitted for $5 with an ID. 

“I grew up watching the original Annie,” theater teacher Alyssa Flores said. “I loved Annie growing up. Especially whenever you’re doing a first musical for a school show, you have to do something that everyone is familiar with. I just think it’s a classic, and you always have to go for a classic!” 

Due to the widespread familiarity of “Annie,” Flores was able to pique a lot of student interest and assemble a diverse cast and crew of around 35 students. Some of these students have never taken a theater class, while others have been in multiple musicals or plays.  

“It’s a very good mix of experienced and inexperienced,” Flores said. “I got really, really lucky with the amount of kids that are not only talented but also dedicated, smart and creative. I do think I got the perfect bunch for this.”

The students’ dedication to the musical can be seen in their commitment to the practice schedule and in their overall enthusiasm. 

“We’ve been going since September, and we have rehearsals every day after school from around 4:20-6 p.m.,” senior Andrea Camarillo said. “We’ve all put in a lot of work for this, so that’ll show the audience that we’ve been preparing for a long time and that it’s something we enjoy doing.” 

Just as the cast members practice regularly to put on an entertaining show, the crew members have also been working hard to make the musical a success. 

“I run the backstage area and make sure that all of the tech aspects of the show are at their best,” junior Pistol McCormick, stage manager, said. “I also did work on choreographing the show, and I think that it has brought the show so much life.” 

In addition to all of the work put into the musical by members of the cast and crew, choir teacher Tanna Bills and construction teacher Stu Foreman have also helped with the process. Bills helped Flores with the music, and Foreman worked with the crew to build the set. 

“I don’t think I would be as successful without them,” Flores said. “I was really nervous at first just because there’s a lot of stuff that you do, not just as an educator but as a producer and a director and a tech director. Because I am a first-year teacher, I’m learning so much on what I want to keep doing and what I don’t want to keep doing, but I think that’s just the process.”

Although all of the work can still be overwhelming at times, it’s all worth it to Flores to see the students having fun and smiling while practicing for the performance. 

“It’s fun to just be singing and dancing with a group of people, and I love performing,” Camarillo said. “It’s not something that I would usually do, but I don’t regret it at all. It’s an experience that I’m happy I get to have.” 

Because of their joy and love for the musical, the cast and crew members are excited for Friday’s performance and ready for the audience to see how much work they have put in. 

“There’s definitely going to be a lot of personality on stage,” Camarillo said. “We all try to look like we’re having fun out there, so hopefully it shows that we are enjoying ourselves and we put on a good show. We give a great performance, so it will be a lot of fun to watch.” 

For this reason, Flores is expecting a pretty good turnout and hoping to sell out of tickets completely. However, the most important thing about the performance for Flores is allowing her students to make memories that they will remember for the rest of their lives. 

“I remember being in that position in my first musical,” Flores said. “I fell in love with theater that way. Knowing that not only my seniors, but also all the way down to my freshmen will be going through that experience just makes my heart warm.”