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Nine-year-old ElseDora Arendt has two exciting things to look forward to on Friday, May 9. It will be the opening night performance of our spring musical, Annie, in which she is playing the title character; and it is also her tenth birthday!
One of the youngest girls to audition for the role of little orphan Annie, ElseDora is no stranger to musical theater. She has loved to sing since she was in pre-school, and since then has acted, danced, and/or sung in Missoula Children’s Theatre productions, SJCT Family Theatre, short plays in the Playwrights Festivals, and the 2012 production of The Sound of Music. “It’s not hard for her,” said her mom, Amy Hull. “It’s natural.” ElseDora says that before going on stage, she might get a little “freaked” but the nervousness soon ends. “When I’m on stage, I feel like the character I’m playing.” Indeed, Amy believes that one of ElseDora’s other loves—reading—has really helped her to be drawn into stories and into the characters within them.
The fourth grader at Friday Harbor Elementary School says she enjoys “all the singing” in Annie and especially likes the scene where she sings Tomorrow because she’s with Bogey (who plays Sandy, the dog). “He’s nice and soft,” she says.
Taking on such a major role has been a time-consuming endeavor for the soon-to-be ten-year-old, but mom Amy says it helps that the family has been involved in the Theatre right along with her. Dad Cole Hull is the assistant stage manager for Annie and has volunteered at SJCT for years; big sister Macalister is also an actress, having recently played “Gwendolyn” in The Importance of Being Earnest; and Amy—who has also acted and volunteered in several SJCT productions—will help backstage during the Annie shows (she has promised ElseDora, however, that she will watch two of the shows in the audience and has been banned from rehearsals so she’ll be surprised when she watches).
ElseDora says her love of singing and dancing (especially ballet) should keep her involved in theater for birthdays to come; and no, she’s not dreaming of Broadway or Hollywood at this time—community theater, she says, is just right.
Annie plays in the Whittier May 9, 10, 15-17, 22-24 at 7:30 pm and May 11 and 18 at 2:00 pm.