NEW CASTLE —
Courtney Ingram invited bad guys to her house – to dance.
For the Portersville Christian School’s musical director, theater is a family affair, and helping a bunch of thugs with their choreography is just part of the job.
This year’s production of “Annie” features not only Ingram and her husband, Ryan, as directors, but also her daughters — first-grader Tobie and fifth-grader Tealey — as orphans and the family’s pug, Fezziwig, as Sandy.
“Well, he is the right color, and any dog can be a runaway,” Ingram explained, noting that Fezziwig was doing well, aside from stealing performers’ snacks while they’re rehearsing.
Both Ingrams hold degrees in theater, so when a family friend mentioned a few years ago that Portersville needed a musical director, Ryan applied. Gradually, as Ryan’s job with US Investigation Services in Grove City allowed him less time to direct and choreograph, Courtney, who works at the Maridon Museum in Butler, began to assume more duties. By then, the couple had fallen so in love with the school, they enrolled their daughters and, in January, moved from Chicora to Slippery Rock to be closer to it.
Once “Annie” wraps up, the Ingrams may actually find time to unpack, but until then, life’s a stage. Specifically, it’s the one being constructed by Portersville students, parents and staff in the high school gymnasium.
“We’re a really small school, but we’re blessed because a lot of kids want to participate and help out. Maybe they don’t want to be on stage, but they’ll help with painting or something else behind the scenes,” Ingram said.
Calling the rehearsals “controlled chaos,” Ingram added, “One of the great things that we’ve noticed here is that the older kids genuinely want to help the younger kids.”
This year’s 46-member cast includes lots of younger students. Comprising the chorus of orphans are 16 elementary-age girls.
A more experienced cast member is sophomore James Mangiapane of Ellwood City, who has been participating in musicals both at Portersville and the New Castle Playhouse since fifth grade.
“It’s always fun to be involved with the (Portersville) musicals because the product comes out so good,” explained Mangiapane, who portrays Rooster, a con artist who poses as Annie’s father. “This year was especially fun because I got to be the bad guy.”
Also enjoying her role as Grace Farrell, Oliver Warbuck’s secretary, is Brittney Kelosky, a sophomore from Fombell.
“Grace is feminine, elegant and sophisticated and it’s fun to portray that on stage,” she said.
Meg Tipton, an eighth-grader from New Wilmington playing the orphan Mary, found “Annie” to be educational, showing what the economics were like during the Depression.
“Everyone’s doing great,” Ingram noted. “They’re excited and trying hard and we’re trying to help them develop professional skills whether they’re on stage or building sets.
“We know a lot of them won’t do anything more with theater once they leave here, but we want them to learn the proper way of doing things.”
Annie: Victoria Hogg
Oliver Warbucks: Elijah Fisher
Grace Farrell: Brittney Kelosky
Miss Hannigan: Mary McDonald
Rooster/Fred: James Mangiapane
Lily Saint Regis: Rachel Hunter
Pepper: Ashley Hoban
Tessie: Hannah Slaboda
July: Michelle Slater
Duffy: Makayla Mercier
Kate: Chelsea Thokar
Molly: Claire Woods
Lt. Ward: Cole Woods
Bundles McCloskey/Ickes: Aaron Zajac
Drake: Stephan Graham
Mrs. Pugh: Heather Johnston
Mrs. Greer/Apple Seller: Hannah Dunmire
Bert Heley/Artie: Nicholas Merrill
Connie Boylan/Star to Be/Cecille: Britney Yauger
Bonnie Boylan/Perkins: Hannah Sloboda
Ronnie Boylan: Larissa Kennedy
McCracken/Hull/Annette: Lily Russell
Roosevelt: Andrew Sloboda
Howe/Ira: Justin Harbinson
Morgenthau: Robin Mussig
Sophie: Tera Tyson
Mary: Meaghan Tipton
Jane: Jessica Schaming
Orphans: Maria Graham, Abby Green, Katie Hamilton, Leah Hoffer, Olivia Hunt, Tealey Ingram, Tobie Ingram, Alexis Konar, Lydia Lowery, Julia Mangiapane, Amy Miller, Lauren Nagg, Sofia Salgado, Jayme Santoro, Julia Schaming, Grey Tunstall
Stage manager/student director: Christine Oesterling
Assistant stage manager: Ben McDonald
Stage manager in training: Jennie Mangiapane
Choreographer: Courtney Ingram
Student choreographers: Michelle Slater, Makayla Mercier, Ashley Hoban, Tealey Ingram
Vocal coach: Ryan Ingram
Piano accompaniment: Hannah Winkle
Extra accompaniment: Craig Carnahan
Percussion: Tyler Kison
Producer: Sheila Powers
House manager: Ed Oliver
Advertising: Anita Slater, Jill Allshouse
Program production: B.J. Russell, Mark Russell, Lily Russell
Set manager: Eric Slater
Set builders: Craig Adams, Craig Carnahan, Ryan Ingram, Steve Kennedy, Tom Powers, Mark Russell, Jim Yauger
Costume design: Ryan Ingram
Sound: Lou Anschuetz, Joel Sloat
Lights: Nathaniel Oesterling
Make up: Kiara Oesterling, Melanie Kennedy
Stage crew: Andrew Niederlander, Kaylee Faull, Wade Henderson, Andrew VanGent, Calvin Dunmire, Jewel Lewis, Kristen Addessi, Shaley Bream, Emily Painter
Painting: Laurie Hallberg, Emily Painter, Shaley Bream, Jennie Mangiapane, Bailey Bennet, Abby Smith, The Green Family
NEW CASTLE —
Courtney Ingram invited bad guys to her house – to dance.
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