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SCHENECTADY: 'The Music Man' and 'Annie' march in

Schenectady Light Opera Company's 81st season is set to begin next week by showcasing some of the hottest young talent in the Capital District.

SLOC is performing The Music Man and "Annie" in November, both geared toward a younger audience with a younger cast.

The first show, "The Music Man," is an all-children's cast with 75 performers ranging in age from 8 to 18.

Sara Smigen, 17, a Niskayuna High School senior, is playing Marion in this year's production of "The Music Man." This is Smigen's first role with SLOC, but she is not new to performing or to musical theater. She performed in Niskayuna's production of "Beauty and the Beast" last spring.

The cast of "The Music Man" has been working together since September. Smigen said the three-hour practices four times a week can get tiring, but she enjoys the work. She also said it is interesting working with so many cast members with such a wide variety of ages.

"It's a different experience, but everyone gets along and works together. We talk a little too much because we're kids, but at the end of the day we are all there because we want to be there," she said.

This is the fist time that SLOC will be performing at the new GE Theater at Proctors.

Donna Z. Bayter, SLOC spokeswoman and co-producer of "Annie" said the company is looking for a new home with more space and handicapped accessibility. She said it is too soon to tell whether the GE Theater would become SLOC's permanent location, but it is a possibility.

SLOC is also staging "Annie," with a cast of 23, including 10 young girls. The show is scheduled to run for three weekends instead of the usual two, so two different girls are scheduled to play Annie.

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