How many Annies does it take to stand in the spotlight?
Three Annies will appear in the Santa Monica High School production of “Annie,” directed by Francis X. Ford, Ph. D., known to students he likes as “Doc.”
“Doc divided the role because it’s demanding on our voices,” says Holly Sedillos, the sophomore Annie. He probably just had an overabundance of talent.
Sedillos and Jacqui Adams, the freshman Annie, were rehearsing last week, while the third Annie, Christina Paul, a junior, toured Italy on her spring break.
The three were selected from 50 girls who auditioned. Paul had been preselected by Ford. Sedillos auditioned specifically for the role, but Adams wasn’t aiming so high.
How do they share in the character, yet make her their own? Sedillos says, “Everyone just adds their own . . .”
“Creativity,” Adams finishes. “You take direction, but you have to add a little flair to it.”
They describe their character. “Optimistic, spunky,” Sedillos suggests. Adams continues, “And tough, and positive.” Sedillos adds, “And basically a tomboy.”
They also agree on the most difficult moments in the show — when Annie cries. “It’s the toughest to motivate,” says Adams. They simultaneously say they’re not method actors. “You have to take it from the character, not from your own experience,” says Adams. Says Sedillos, “You have to feel what she’d feel. You think about an 11-year-old girl.”
“She’s grown up without parents, but she’s had this dream,” Adams suggests.
Sedillos has a trained voice, having taken private lessons for years. Adams says she has had no training. Sedillos was a gymnast. Adams says she has had no movement training. Adams begins to look on edge. Ford looks comfortable.
Both students have studied acting with Ford, and both have taken acting workshops outside of school. They like classes with Ford best.
Sedillos will premiere the musical at a special, invitation-only performance. Adams performs opening night; Paul has closing night honors.
It sounds like Annie has it covered.
“Annie” runs through May 8 at Santa Monica High School Humanities Center Theatre, Santa Monica High School (Michigan at 7th). Children, students and seniors $10; middle-aged adults $15. For dates and times, telephone 310.458.5939.