The search is on for a dynamic group of ragamuffins who can act, sing, dance or contribute skills backstage.

Franklin County Children’s Theatre will present "Annie Jr." Saturday, June 22, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at the Franklin County High School Lew Wallace Auditorium, Brookville.

Why should kids participate in the musical based on the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" and featuring the showstopper "Tomorrow"? President Toni Miles answers, "The Franklin County Children’s Theatre was created to enrich our community, inspire and empower young artists, and educate our youth in all aspects of theater. Everyone should try theater at least once in his or her life. Participating in theater stimulates creativity, increases confidence, promotes healthy activity, teaches teamwork and builds relationships that last a lifetime."

The show calls for 25-30 actors. Each auditioner in grades K-12 must be a Franklin County resident or attend a county school.

"You must attend one mandatory audition information session to be eligible to audition," she notes. These will be held Monday, April 8, at 4 and 6 p.m. at the second floor back room of Third Place, 734 Main St., Brookville. A parent or guardian is required to attend with each student.

Actors will sign up for 15-minute audition times during these sessions.

"At the audition information session, we will review the calendar and expectations. You will be given an audition information packet and asked to complete all forms included. However, if for some reason you are interested in auditioning, but cannot attend, please contact us and we will work something out with you." FCCT leaders can be reached at fcchildrenstheatre@gmail.com, 765-432-6685 or by private message on Facebook.

The president advises, "Please prepare a song of your choice to sing during auditions. Choose something that showcases your strengths. You may bring a device with accompaniment (cellphone, CD, tablet) or may choose to sing a cappella."

Two audition preparation sessions take place Thursday, April 11, at the same times and place. Students will learn a song and dance as well as prepare lines that will be used in auditions. The prep meeting is not mandatory, but will be very helpful in the audition process, according to Miles.

"Annie Jr." auditions are slated for Monday, April 15, from 4-7 p.m. by appointment at Third Place.

If a student is cast, there is a suggested $30 donation to offset the production's cost. Costumes will be provided. However, dancers are asked to use their own tap shoes if needed. Girls will also need to buy their own nude tights and nude camisoles/tank tops.

The rehearsal schedule is online at http://fcchildrenstheatre.org.

The three FCCT founding members will help bring "Annie Jr." to audiences: director Savannah Hofer, assistant director and choreographer Miles and assistant director Missy Pepper, who also is in charge of sets and costumes.

Adults and youth are needed to work on backstage committees. "We are grateful for the volunteers who do so much behind the scenes. There are opportunities to help with advertising our show, set construction, gathering props, hair/makeup and more. Persons may volunteer via email or telephone."

In addition to Miles, Franklin County Children’s Theatre officers are Treasurer Pepper and Secretary Hofer. Other board members are Justin Ward, Karen Negangard, Jenny Wilz and Ron Galyen.

FCCT is the brainchild of the current officers – three close friends who worked together in the drama department at Mount Carmel School for over 20 years. "As our vision outgrew the constraints of producing theater within a K-6 school, we took the leap to form a community children’s theater in 2018," Miles recounts.

"At this time, our goal is to produce one summer musical each year as well as hold a theater workshop each fall. However, we hope to grow and eventually want to produce multiple shows each year as well as organize other events."

The president concludes, "The arts have had a tremendous impact on each of our lives, and we hope to extend opportunities in the arts to touch children’s lives throughout Franklin County. We are so excited about this adventure and look forward to this year’s show!"

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

How to help

The president reports, "We are working to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Our funding comes from donations, fundraisers, grants and proceeds from our other shows. Thank you, United Way of Franklin County and the Franklin County Community Foundation, for grants that have made our productions thus far possible."

Monetary contributions are always appreciated. Checks made payable to Franklin County Children’s Theatre can be mailed to P.O. Box 405, Brookville, IN 47012. "If you’d like to donate another way, please contact us," Miles says.