Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Maybe now this prayer’s the last one of its kind

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (March 16) — The musical Annie, with its hopeful glow in a hard-knock life, closed Saturday after two weekends here at Franklin High School.

Auditorium, Franklin H.S. (Voxitatis)

With the curtain closed, the lights dimmed, and the house brimmed with anticipation, we heard a trumpet and trombone duet rising in smooth tones from the pit. Then Annie (Emily Signor) took the stage and filled the air with a blossoming vibrato in a captivating soprano voice: “Maybe now this prayer’s the last one of its kind,” she sang, referring to her prayer to find her parents who dumped her at the orphanage 11 years ago.

A sophomore, Ms Signor said she was very excited to be participating in her fourth production at the high school, which is in Baltimore County, just northwest of Baltimore City.

“The talented students here at Franklin amaze me every day,” wrote Elizabeth Wahba, the show’s director, in the playbill. “I knew Annie would be perfect,” she wrote of her decision to choose the musical for this year. “It’s a fun, lighthearted show about optimism in the darkest of times, and how that positive attitude can give way to incredible experiences.”

But musicals aren’t just about the cast—they also involve dedication on the part of a pit orchestra, crew members, set builders, stage managers, sound engineers, and so on.

“The costumes you see are 100 percent designed and commissioned by students,” Ms Wahba wrote. “The sets and paint are student-designed and -built; the lights, sound, and make-up—all done by students.”

Even with all his wealth, Oliver Warbucks (Trevor Bower, in his seventh and possibly final show at Franklin) knows in the end that something is missing from his life. In his brief bio, Mr Bower quotes Ray Narvaez Jr, also known as the YouTube sensation Brownman or X-Ray, as saying, “We’re all friends; friends love each other.” That is our prayer, too—for our fellow Americans and for citizens of every other nation on Earth, in good times and bad.

Performed at Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland, March 16–24. Music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, book by Thomas Meehan. Appropriate for all ages. Musical productions in high schools often include the hard work of hundreds of students, teachers, and other community members. And in this case, two well-behaved dogs. We write about them in support of new federal legislation in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which directs schools to include music and the arts as part of a “well-rounded education” for students in the US.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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