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Hoosac Valley High's drama club is staging the musical 'Annie' this weekend with an appearance from Pittsfield's Officer Winston.
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Fifty students are involved in the production, the largest since the pandemic.
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Hoosac Valley High Performing Musical 'Annie'

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The role of the well-known orphan is being played by Chloe King. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Hoosac Valley will perform the musical "Annie" on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.
"We were looking for a feel-good musical that was recognizable and would bring in many students. We were looking for a show that would build the program back up after COVID," director Rebecca Koczela said.
The musical "Annie" is based on the 1924 comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" by Harold Gray. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and a book by Thomas Meehan.
Annie, an orphan, goes off to live with a rich man, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, to promote his own image. Annie enjoys living in the mansion but still longs to meet her parents. 
"[The students] are very excited now that we have gotten to the final rehearsals with costumes and mics and the pit band," Koczela said. "For many of our students, this is their first show so they are nervous and excited."
There are about 50 students participating in the production from Grades 7-12. Students make up the tech and backstage crews and the majority of the pit band.
Koczela said almost everyone is playing multiple roles. 
Chloe King stars as Annie, Ian Cappiello is Warbucks, Anelia Ziaja is Miss Hannigan, Zack Sawyer is Rooster and Tia Kareh is Lily. 
"All are seniors and have been involved in the musicals since they were in 8th grade, aside from the COVID years. 
Jolyn Davis is Grace Farell. Koczela said she is also a senior and this is her musical debut.
The Pittsfield Police dog, Officer Winston, is also making his stage debut in the role of Sandy. 
Amanda Watroba is the musical director, and Morgan Foisy, a student and actor in the show, did the choreography.
Koczela said although they have held performances since the pandemic, it was nice to return to larger shows with more expansive ensembles. 
"We performed the '25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' last year, but it was a much smaller cast. It is so great to have so many students involved. They all come together and support each other like a family," she said. "We've had the regular pre-pandemic challenges -sickness, snow days, and the older students' work schedules, but these kids all step up and fill- in when someone is missing."
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. They can be purchased here or at the door.
"The talent is amazing," Koczela said. "I think it's important to support the talent and dedication that the students have put in.  They give up a great deal of time while still managing their student responsibilities. The show is entertaining and the songs are familiar.
"I also think it is very important to support high school theater and music programs. The skills that students gain from their involvement are immeasurable. And where else can you see a full musical for a $10 ticket?"


Tags: high school musical,   

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Adams Free Library Celebrates Refinished Staircases

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The oak and maple staircases had darkened over the years from use and age, and the treads were worn. 
ADAMS, Mass. — Attorney Emil George was sitting in the conference room at Adams Community Bank last year looking out the window at the Free Library, where he'd once studied as a student.
He thought to himself, "I'm gonna go across the street and just see if they need anything." And so he did. 
The result was the restoration of the elaborate twin staircases in the historic building that hadn't had more than a cleaning in the last 124 years. 
"This library's beautiful stairways have seen much foot traffic over the last century and it was time to see them restored," said Library Director Holli Jayko at Saturday morning's ribbon cutting of the refurbished steps. "We are very thankful for benevolent donors and talented people."
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