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"Annie" nationals competition trip met with financial setbacks, Prosper theatre to help with transportation

Theatre troop 7585 displays its banner at the TTSF convention in Dallas.  The troop had

Thomas Engelbert

Theatre troop 7585 displays its banner at the TTSF convention in Dallas. The troop had "Annie" and a solo singer piece advance to nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska June 24-29.

James Carroll, Staff Writer

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For once, the journey may not have to end early.

After years of qualifying for nationals and not being able to compete because of high travel costs, a potential partnership with Prosper has created the possibility that the eight Thespian Society members who qualified at the Texas Thespian State Festival this past November might finally have their moment in the national spotlight. Nationals will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska on June 24-29.

“I met with their director, Vicky Kirkley,” theatre director Cindy Baker said.  “Prosper theater has generously offered to pair up with us so we can get a bus to go to Lincoln [Nebraska], which will cut down on our costs considerably.”

While the trip still costs $2,000 per person, Prosper theatre’s offer is to help with transportation to avoid any additional fees.

“We’re super, super grateful to Prosper,” junior Juli Parsons said. “They’re our sister troop. We’ve been meaning to build stronger bonds with them for a while now, and just the fact that that’s starting to happen, we’d do the same for them should they have national qualifiers.”

The plan as of now is to raise money to pay for competition fees.

“I’m pretty sure fundraisers are definitely going to be a big thing in the future,” Parsons said. “If we do get to go, we’ll have fun doing what we love doing in that sort of competitive aspect of it.”

Even though Celina students have qualified for the national competition five out of eight years Baker has taken them to TTSF, this would be the first time a group from Celina would be able to attend.  

“We’re all very excited,” junior Kara McDonald said. “Qualifying for nationals in itself means that you did a good job, you excelled, so we’re all very honored to be qualified.”

When coming up with which play to assign the girls, Baker picked “Annie” in order to stick out amongst the competition.  

“There’s so many really talented girls singers and dancers in our program right now,” Baker said. “I wanted something high energy for them and something to capture youth and innocence and fun and something that people aren’t doing a whole lot of anymore.”

Before the girls could participate, they experienced challenges with people’s schedules.  

“The biggest [challenge] was getting everyone to rehearsal at the same time,” Parsons said. “We had a couple girls who weren’t in the same class period as we were to work on it, it was hard to be able to choreograph stuff and go through harmonies with the lyrics whenever we didn’t have everyone there.”

With the looming possibility of appearing at nationals for the first time, the girls will wait and see if they are able to go compete in Lincoln.

“It’s an honor to be named to be able to go,” Baker said. “I think it really inspired them to go ‘You know, we’re pretty good. We didn’t really realize it, but we do some good, and we need to get out there and let the whole nation know how great Celina is.’”

(Jacob Vaught, Judith Matehuala, Addy Davenport, Michelle Barrientz, Nyasha Hananda and Edoardo Guerini contributed to this story.)

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