For Allison Winkel, 13, of Fulton, being Annie is a dream come true.
A River Bend Middle School student entering the eighth grade, Allison said she has always been interested the theater. Her grandparents, who she calls her Oma and Opa from Fulton, began taking Allison to plays when she was 4.
“And I always dreamed of being in shows,” Allison said.
As she got older and was able to try out for different productions, she took a chance. In elementary school she participated with her choir when an opera house came to the school and did a production of “The Magic Flute.” In 2009, Allison tried out for the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and was placed in the children’s chorus. Since then, she has been in the Showboat’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” “Showboat” and “It’s a wonderful Life.”
Allison has always had a soft spot for the musical “Annie.” She saw the movie when she was 5 years old and loved it. Allison said she would sing along with the songs and pretend she was Annie.
She always hoped the Showboat would do the musical when she was younger so she could try out for the title role. When it was announced that Showboat would perform the musical this year, she hoped that with her height she might be able to play Annie.
Allison started working on the role with her voice lessons in November and tried out in February. At the end of March, she was told she had been chosen. The next day, on April 1, she went to tell her friends she had been given the part, but they thought she was playing an April fools joke on them.
Allison is sharing the role with 8-year-old Mackenna Janz, of Davenport. She said she has enjoyed spending time with Janz and talking to her about the role. Allison said she has really enjoyed working with all of the younger cast members playing the orphans. Allison will be in tonight’s opening night performance and will portray Annie on July 28, Aug. 3, Aug. 4 and Aug. 6. Janz will be Annie in the other performances, including closing night.
Some day, Allison hopes to be an actress on the stage. She sings everyday and continues to work toward this goal. She said she loves stage productions and would be thrilled if some day she could be on Broadway.
Allison’s family has been very supportive of her acting. Her parents are Jessica and Richard Winkel. She has an older sister, Rebecca, a younger sister, Hillary and a younger brother, Zachary. Allison said 5-year-old Zachary is also a fan of “Annie” and sings along with her when she is practicing her songs.
Allison said she hopes people come and see the show.
“It’s a great show about hope and possibility and love with other people,” said Allison.