After 15 years of directing, hundreds of kids, 29 productions with CCT, and 24 very hot Julys spent in the Hall, it’s time for me to have a real summer vacation. I would like to thank the countless kids, parents, and community members who have helped support the Chebeague Children’s Theatre over the past 15 years I have served as the Artistic Director. It is amazing to see how the program has grown and evolved over that time period, and with “Annie” I am coming full circle.
“Annie” was the first full length show I directed, in 2001 after my senior year of high school, and it was one of my favorite shows to act in as a child (I played Judy 20 years ago. And yes, the thought of that makes me feel very old). In all three productions of “Annie” the “adult”roles were played by older teenagers with the younger kids as the orphans. Miss Hannigan is still wearing the same fabulous blue dressing gown found at the Grange (though it looked very different on Betsy Kersteen, Lauren Miller and Genny Dyer). The production values and choreography have greatly improved since 2001 as has the training these actors receive (due in part to my B.A. in Theatre from Colby and many years of teaching and directing theatre in independent schools.)
It has been such a privilege for me to work with so many kids over the years and hopefully inspire the same love of theatre and performance that I received as a participant in CCT all those years ago. It has been a delight to watch them grow as actors and find confidence and their voices on this stage. There are too many stories to recount of those lightbulb moments when a kid finally figures it out, and this is really the reason I have continued to return year after year. This program has been such a huge part of my life and enabled me to get my start as a director for which I will be eternally grateful.
Thank you to the “older kids” involved in this production who have been in double or triple rehearsals every day and have been logging 6-12 hour days in the hall to put both this show and “Singin’ in the Rain” together. My heartfelt appreciation goes to Henry Edwards for wrangling many small children over the years, always being willing to pitch in with a smile on his face, and for being an amazing director, actor, sound guy, techie and assistant.
So this show is for you: the Chebeague Island Community who have been so wonderful and supportive of all of us through the years. From donating costumes and props, acting in shows, painting sets, putting up tarps to keep the rain off the kids, taking photos, doing hair and makeup, sewing costumes, helping to learn lines, putting up with our very loud music and tap dancing, stopping the actors on the road or at the store to tell them they did a great job, and most importantly for being an incredible audience and allowing generations of young people to feel what it’s like to be a star. You may be able to say “you saw them when” about some of these kids in the future… I would bet on them.
Thank you all and enjoy the show.
Rachel Damon Artistic Director