6th Grader Onstage In Annie at Walnut Street Theatre

AIM 6th grader Sammy K., 11, has been busy juggling class and homework with rehearsals in Philadelphia for the past few months as she prepared for her role as the orphan Duffy in the Walnut Street Theatre's holiday production of the musical Annie.

Sammy, who also is the understudy for the red-headed lead, began her Walnut Street performances in mid-November and can be seen onstage during weeknight performances through early January.

Memorizing lines and music for two roles in the musical was a challenge, but one that Sammy, who performs using the stage name Samantha Marley, said she was happy to take on. "My mom and sister and my voice teacher all take part in helping me learn everything," said Sammy, who has dreamed of being an actress since she was six and performed as a Munchkin in Walnut Street's Wizard of Oz production last year.

We caught up with Sammy during recess to find out a few details about her time onstage (and backstage).

  • Favorite Song in Annie: Tomorrow
  • Sandy's Real Name: Sunny (Sunny performed on Broadway as Annie's pooch as well)
  • Best Backstage Game: Jacks (Sammy introduced the cast children to this camp-favorite and now they're all obsessed).
  • When do you have time to eat?: "My mom usually makes me dinner, but between shows we go out to eat as a group. I really like Starbuck sandwiches."
  • How are you keeping up with homework?: "I do a lot of homework at the theater and have a tutor too. It's hard to keep up but I often think through what I need to write while I'm doing other things."
  • When do you go to sleep after a show?: "I usually don't go to bed until 12:30 or 12:45 am. The show ends at 10:30 pm and the children go out in the theatre to greet the audience and collect donations for Walnut Street. Then we have to change out of our costumes into our regular clothes and we always stop to talk. I usually go to bed really early (when not performing), but now that I've been getting home so late during the week it feels weird to go to bed early."


  • drama
  • middle school