It’s a ‘Hard Knock Life’ at Birchwood Elementary School

Photo Kristin Schultz
Annie and Miss Hannigan confront each other in Birchwood Elementary School's performance of "Hard Knock Life."Photo Kristin Schultz Annie and Miss Hannigan confront each other in Birchwood Elementary School's performance of "Hard Knock Life."

By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA

More than 50 students took to the stage and the choir risers to sing and dance their way through “Hard Knock Life,” an adaptation of the Broadway classic “Annie.”

The 54 fourth- and fifth-graders spent nine weeks learning lines, songs, choreography and blocking. On the morning of April 6, they performed for the elementary school and played to a packed house of friends and family at 7 that night.

“Each of the 54 young performers were able to learn lines, songs and dances incredibly quickly,” said directors Lisa Luyckx and Jackie Albanese in an email. “[They] did the best job possible bringing the characters to life.”

Photo Kristin Schultz Birchwood Elementary School's performance of "Hard Knock Life," an adaptation of "Annie."

Photo Kristin Schultz
Birchwood Elementary School’s performance of “Hard Knock Life,” an adaptation of “Annie.”

This adaptation features an orphanage for boys and girls along with the familiar cast of characters: loud, conniving and heartless Miss Hannigan; wealthy, philanthropic industrialist Daddy Warbucks; a band of orphans including Tessie and her worried cries of, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness”; and of course, scrappy, yet eternally hopeful, Annie.

The directors chose the musical for its universal appeal, opportunities for students to sing solos as well as perform in group ensembles and dance.

Photo Kristin Schultz Birchwood Elementary School performed "Hard Knock Life" for its spring musical.

Photo Kristin Schultz
Birchwood Elementary School performed “Hard Knock Life” for its spring musical.

Fourth-grade teacher Luyckx and retired fourth-grade teacher Albanese started the drama club in 2014, following a two-year period without a stage performance at the school. The club’s first year drew 40 members and performed “Tom Sawyer.”