A production of "Annie" was put on for a limited, one-show engagement Aug. 21, at the Sterling Annex on Church Road in Sterling. As the crowd applauded, Krista Ferrara stood up from the bow she and her co-stars were taking and looked around the room. The smile on her face was gigantic. She wrote and directed the production and she is only 10 years old.
Krista says she has been writing and directing plays every summer with her friends since she wrote "The Witch and The Princess" three years ago.
"This year they got the idea to do 'Annie'," said Meryl Ferrara, Krista's mother, "so Krista made up a shorter script and asked her friends if they wanted to do it."
THE ROLE OF Annie went to Alexa Ferrara, Krista's 9-year-old sister, while Krista took on the roles of Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks. Krista's friends took on the rest of the roles with Rebecca Miller, 10, playing Pepper, Lily, an apple seller and a maid; Kiley Garret, 12, playing Kate, Grace and Rooster; Emily Hughes, 10, playing July, a star-to-be and a maid; Emily Harding, 8, playing Molly, Sandy the Dog and a maid. Sarah Miller was the sound and stage technician. Krista's youngest sister Julia, 4, was supposed to be in the play too, but had to miss the performance at the last minute because of a photo-shoot opportunity.
"It was fun playing the dog," Emily Harding said of her role.
The girls rehearsed two or three times every week for three to four hours in the Ferrara's basement.
"We only rehearsed once on the stage," Rebecca said. "The rest were at the house."
With all the rehearsing the girls said they had no problem getting their parts memorized. "It was easy to get the lines," said Alexa.
And it all paid off. The play included all the song and dance numbers, which were all choreographed and delivered well. Emily Hughes, who had problems projecting her voice when rehearsals started, was loud and clear. The costumes and props, made mostly by Meryl Ferrara, were well done and the truncated version of the script was easy to follow and entertaining.
After the show Krista and Rebecca handed out awards to the other actors for their performances. Rebecca received a special award from Krista and then Krista was honored with a tiny statue dubbed the Annie award.
THEIR PERFORMANCES have not always been this glamorous, however. Krista's last two summer performances were on a back porch, not the stage. This year her mother thought it would be a good idea to rent out the Sterling Annex for the play.
"I asked the other mothers involved and we all pitched in for the rent on the Annex," said Meryl Ferrara. "The other parents were all very supporting."
Krista first became interested in theater when her mother took her and her sister to a production of "Annie" five years ago. "They caught the theater bug after that," said Ferrara.
The benefit of doing this is not just fun over the summer. All the girls have a great time but they have also all become interested in theater.
"Because Krista has done this over the past three years she's introduced the theater to kids who may not have ever stepped onto the stage," Ferrara said.
Krista does not plan on stopping anytime soon, she enjoys it too much. "We're thinking of 'The Wizard of Oz' for the next show," she said after the curtain closed on "Annie."