Parkway High School senior Annabelle Hough knew that high school theater could be cruel, but had no idea just how much until her drama coach, Mr. Ben Thomas, told her she was too old to be in this fall’s production of “Little Women.”
“I’m 17 so I know I’m past the point of playing one of the younger March sisters, who are 12 and 13,” Annabelle said. “But as an experienced actress with incredible range, I figured I’d be a shoe-in for 15-year-old Jo.”
Despite disparaging comments from her peers who said the role would likely go to “more of a young Kiernan Shipka type” like “[freshman] Lily Herman,” Annabelle made the brave decision to try out for Mrs. March. But before she could even audition, she was told that the producers were holding out for someone a little more “fresh-faced,” like a graduating eighth-grader.
“It’s all so totally ratchet,” Annabelle said, in her best impression of someone younger than herself.
The role of Mrs. March ultimately went to Parkway Elementary sixth-grader, 11-year-old Riley Schultz. Her husband in the play, Mr. March, will be played by 55-year-old substitute gym teacher, Bob Younce.
The decision has forced Annabelle to re-think her upcoming Juilliard audition. “Sure, it’ll be cool when I’m once again the new and hot freshman, but three years later, I’ll be just another 22-year-old has-been.”
She adds: “I feel like my best years have already passed me by. I mean, what am I supposed to do with my life now? Debate club? It’s too late for me to start fresh.”
“For my age, I think I look amazing,” the 17-year-old said. “I look at these freshman girls and I just want to tell them, enjoy the spotlight while it lasts. Because before you know it, nobody wants you anymore. Looks fade.” She then flashed her hall pass to a patrolling school safety officer who seemed not to notice her at all.