Glen Ellyn Girl Enjoys Hard Knocks Performing in 'Annie'

Ten-year-old Jaclyn Dougherty is one of only six children performing in the highly acclaimed musical.

It’s a hard-knock life for an orphan, but for one Glen Ellyn girl, being an orphan is an experience she wouldn’t trade.

While Jaclyn Dougherty, 10, isn’t really an orphan, she is currently portraying one in the musical Annie, which runs through Dec. 30 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

Jaclyn is a student at Forest Glen Elementary School in Glen Ellyn. She is one of only six children performing in the play. She has been performing in Annie four times a week for the six-week run, her mother Chrissy Dougherty said.

“It has been amazing how many friends, family, and teachers have come to see her in Annie,” Chrissy Dougherty said. “She has known well over 100 people who attended and is fortunate to have someone in the audience at almost every one of her performances.  Paramount Theatre is a wonderful venue with reasonable ticket prices right in the suburbs.”

Jaclyn started performing about a year ago and has no intention of stopping. She has the acting bug.

“Performing is so much fun and I don't want to give it up,” Jaclyn said.

Jaclyn portrays Kate, who is the second youngest orphan in the musical, Jaclyn said.  

“I am in a few scenes acting, singing and dancing,” she said.

Her part is double cast; she performs in every other performance for a total of 22 shows, her mother said.

Before securing the part in Annie, Jaclyn had performed in a local production of Willy Wonka and The Music Man.

Jaclyn’s brother Brennan was the inspiration for her to get involved in musical theater. He had been involved in theater singing and dancing, she said.

The play has received rave reviews from local media. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones has said the musical is: “better than the current Broadway Annie.” 

And, Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun Times said of the musical: “… true genius …easily could become a national touring edition of Annie.” 

What does Jaclyn enjoy most about performing? “I enjoy being with all my friends and just being on stage,” she said.

Her parents don’t mind her performing either.

“We feel extremely proud,” Chrissy Dougherty said. “It is hard to believe that is actually her on the stage.”

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