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District Five musical ‘Annie’ brings talents together

IRMO – Singing and excitement fill the air as students rehearse throughout the halls at Irmo High School’s Center of the Arts. It’s the last week of preparation before the April 27 opening of Lexington-Richland School District Five’s 2017 musical, “Annie,” and the students are eager to deliver another top-quality show.

“The students are amazing,” said Tami Richardson, District Five coordinator of arts and gifted programs. “Each year, the students produce shows that rival those at any professional theater around the country. We’re excited to see them put their talents on display again this year.”

District Five started producing a district-wide musical in 2012, as a way to give students from all its high schools the opportunity to work together on a grand stage. For five years, the district partnered with Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College offering students a large venue and real-world experience. The new Center for the Arts at Irmo High provided another venue for the district and stage experience for students.

“Harbison Theatre was a great venue for us, because at the time we didn’t have a place to perform,” Richardson said. “That’s one reason we started this, we didn’t have the facilities to really put on a production of the magnitude that a musical typically takes. We partnered with Harbison Theatre and in the meantime, built the Center for the Arts at Irmo High School.”

Beyond on-stage experience, students enjoy the opportunity to get to know students from other schools throughout the district. Twelfth grade Dutch Fork High student Aviana Rivera says she has been a part of past district musicals, including “Grease” and “Seussical the Musical.”

“I’ve had nothing but great experiences in the district musical before,” said Rivera, who will play Miss Hannigan in “Annie.” “It’s really nice to get all the schools to come together and just put on a show together!”

Irmo High theater teacher Lyle Browne added, “Theater is a collaborative art… It’s great that not only do we get students who now get to work with other schools, but they also go to other high schools and support each other’s shows.”

This is the first year the Center for the Arts is fully staffed and the district musical will be performed at a District Five school. The 610 seat state-of-the-art theater includes an orchestra pit and advanced sound and lighting systems. By having the district musical in-house, students are able to be more involved behind the scenes with technical theater and running the backstage production of the show.

“From stage work to collaboration, these experiences are invaluable for our students,” Richardson said. “Students enjoy the shared vision. It just unites us. We’re District Five when we put this musical on.”

“Annie” is being produced with support from the District Five Foundation and Page Five. The showtimes for “Annie” are Thursday, April 27 at 7pm;Friday, April 28 at 7pm; Saturday, April 29 at 12pm; and Sunday, April 30 at 3pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visitwww.lexrich5.org.

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