As promised, I got back to New Life Ministries to watch the entire ‘Annie, From Humiliation to Glorification.’

During intermission, I had the pleasure of meeting with Pastor Joy D. Scott who serves as writer, director and choreographer and she shared some of the backstory of this magnificent production.

Annie is the 5th play she’s staged at the church for the sole purpose of giving young people of Chester the opportunity to participate in a positive activity that they can be proud of. For a lady who has no background in theater other than as a fan of plays, it amazes me that she delivers an experience that ranks among the best stage productions I’ve ever seen.

She does have dance experience which is on display for nearly half the show as all 30 young folks participate in everything from praise dance, classical dance and high energy hip-hop dance to the point that the audience explodes in applause after each number.

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Even after writing the play, going through all the auditions, tons of rehearsals and a dozen performances, Pastor Joy Scott sits in on the edge of her seat on the front row barking out encouraging words like a 3rd base coach while enjoying every moment of the show like a paying audience member.

With all her plays, she takes all comers from across the city. If originally there isn’t a part in the play, she writes one in for them. There’s never a problem attracting guys even though dance isn’t normally considered a ‘boy’ thing on the streets. And some of the actors who come from broken homes find solace in their theater family which often gives them the only outlet in their young lives to excel in a positive activity.

Pastor Scott’s only frustration is the challenge to fill the seats so more people in our community can see the young people doing positive things in the city and diffuse all the negative that we hear about almost daily.

Regardless of how many people are in the audience, the kids perform like they’re in front of thousands and takes pride in delivering a top notch performance, even if it’s just to satisfy themselves and their fellow actors.

As Pastor Scott says, “Anything meant to stand needs support.” If you stand for a better Chester for our youth, you’ve got one final weekend to attend Annie. I promise you that it will be the best 3 hours of your week. Call 610.874.8752 for tickets and show times.

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There’s no mistaking that the cast loves Pastor Joy D. Scott as she takes a bow at the end of the show.