It’s A Hard Knock Life: Freshmen cast in “Annie” discuss struggles of managing school work, rehearsals


Freshman Emily Chrzanowski, second from the right, rehearses a number from the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s production of “Annie” as an orphan. As a freshman, Chrzanowski has to manage her first year of high school with hours of rehearsal each week.

Da-Hyun Hong, Reporter

Shows such as “Godspell,” “Hello, Dolly” and “Phantom of the Opera” are only a few of the past shows put on at this school, but theater students also gravitate toward productions outside of school; that includes the current production of “Annie” at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, which runs until Saturday.

The directors cast freshman Cara Nowlin as a member of the adult ensemble. She said her role involves singing, dancing and a bit of acting. According to Nowlin, as of August, she rehearsed around 17 hours every week for “Annie” which began its run on Oct. 12.

“I remember when I was younger I was so inspired by the young talent (in “Annie”) because there are so many orphans, and I want to do that. They’re young. I can do that too right?” Nowlin said.

Another actress, freshman Emily Chrzanowski, plays the orphan known as Kate. According to Chrzanowski, she spends an average of 20 hours a week doing activities related to musical theater.

Nowlin and Chrzanowski said “Annie” will be their first show at the Civic Theatre.

“In this situation, I kind of feel less experienced, but as we go on throughout rehearsals I feel more and more confident in myself and what I’m doing,” Nowlin said.

Due to the rigorous rehearsal schedules, Nowlin said she often stays up late doing schoolwork.

“Time management has kind of been hard because right after school I go to a lesson and right after my lesson I have to go to rehearsal and then I have to do homework afterwards,” she said. “But I think I’m managing everything pretty well. I’m happy with my grades.”

Chrzanowski said, “If I have extra homework, we have a lot of down time if we’re not in a scene so I do it then.”

Although scheduling for an entire cast can be difficult, Melissa Hook, marketing and events manager for Civic Theatre, said directors try to reduce the number of conflicts.

“Schoolwork is important and school comes first, and we believe in working closely with institutions and people’s jobs too,” she said. “We definitely understand that while this is a very important thing to us and the actors as well, it may not be their full-time thing.”

Although unsure of exactly which career she’d like to follow, Nowlin said she’s interested in something that involving music, whether from musical theater or classical singing.

“I just want to learn and gain more knowledge. The cast is absolutely incredible,” Nowlin said. “Everyone is so talented it blew my mind at the first rehearsal we had. I hope to get more experience and create more friendships.”