Haley Reeves is directing Wrangell’s production of ‘Annie.’
(Courtesy Marc Lutz Photography)

It’s her first time directing a play herself, but Haley Reeves, the director of Wrangell’s upcoming production of ‘Annie’, is no stranger to the theater. She danced, acted and sang in dozens of community theater productions in her Montana hometown since late high school. 

Reeves played the Mother Abbess ‘The Sound of Music’ last December, which was Wrangell’s first community theater production in more than two decades. 

Now, she’s the beating heart behind ‘Annie,’ which opens at the Nolan Center this week. KSTK’s Sage Smiley sat down with Reeves after a recent dress rehearsal to talk about the show and the directing process. 

Performances of ‘Annie’ are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday (May 12) and 4 p.m. Saturday (May 13). There are also performances next weekend on May 20 and 21. Find tickets online at nolancenter.org/annie.

Listen to the conversation here.


Sage Smiley (KSTK): How is it, directing your first play?

Haley Reeves: It has been – and granted we haven’t shown yet, but – one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. When I go home after a busy day and we have rehearsal, I’ll go to [my husband] Ryan and be like, ‘Wow, that was a tough rehearsal,’ or ‘Wow, we really worked on a lot.’ But I’m always happy when I come home. It’s never been like ‘Ah, rehearsal sucked today.’ I mean, it’s always just been a very, very rewarding and exciting and now nerve-wracking experience.

KSTK: So what are you most nervous about in the lead-up to the play?

Reeves: I think what I’m most nervous about is a couple of things. I get nervous that my goal in this was just to create a safe space and a happy space and a joyful space where people want to come and want to be a part of it. So I hope that I’ve done that and that show night is just like, this incredible night of friendship and success [because] we’ve done something together. I get nervous that: did I make sure everybody had their shining moment, did I make sure that everybody got a chance to show themselves? And then you get nervous, because like, as with anything that has to do with art, everybody’s putting their heart and soul into their role […] you put something out there that you’ve worked really hard on and it’s kind of your baby, and you’re like, ‘Wow, I hope the world doesn’t destroy it. I hope they like it.’ I mean, honestly, you like you hope they love it, really. So those are the things I get nervous about.

KSTK: Is there an aspect of this play, or the process that you’re most proud about or excited for people to see?

Reeves: Ah, that’s a good question. Is there an aspect that I’m most proud about? I’m probably most proud about –  gosh, this is gonna sound conceited – but I’m most proud about how well I felt like I was able to organize and get people together and work out people missing stuff. Because I think I’ve said it before that the hardest thing was getting everybody together at one point. Which – that’s how it is, it’s community theater. I’m really proud of how we worked it out. And I think that I handled scheduling conflicts without making people feel bad for having a life. I mean, you do and it’s what happenes. And wait there were two parts of this question, what am I most proud about? And …

KSTK: – Just is there an aspect you’re most proud about, or most excited for people to see?

Reeves: I’m most excited for people to just see everybody in the show. Because ah, it’s like, they come and audition, you cast your show. And you’re like, ‘Alright, here we go. We’re gonna practice.’ And every time I’ve watched this leading up to the show, I’m like, ‘This could not have been more perfect.’ And I’m so excited for everyone to see everybody like their peers and their fellow community members in a whole new light, and everybody’s amazing. There’s not one person that you watch, and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s dragging down the show.’ It’s like every time it just builds more and more and more, and it’s just – I’m so excited for everybody to see it. Just to see how good everybody is. Amazing, really. 

KSTK: What does having community theater in Wrangell mean to you?

Reeves: I did theater back home, nd I didn’t – I was a late bloomer, you might say in theater, and I started with sound and tech, because I was too nervous to get on stage and audition. Then my senior year of high school, I got cast in a show that I was auditioning for with my friend. And that was where I fell in love with being on stage. And then I did community theater and I have probably been, I mean, maybe like 20 shows, maybe more. And I guess I didn’t realize until we started community theater here, how much theater is really like another home to me. And that sounds kind of lame, I guess maybe, but I just – I knew that I missed it. I knew moving to Wrangell, they didn’t have it. And I was like, ‘You know what, that’s something I’m willing to let go of in my life. I’ve had my time.’ I mean, we were big fish in a small community in my hometown as far as theater went. So it was just a fun time. And it was like, ‘Alright,’ that I mean, I really was like ‘That time my life is over. I have my family, and I was very happy and am very happy.’ And then when it was coming back and I was like, ‘Okay, well I’m gonna audition,’ and then the last show was amazing, creating great friendships and then they’ve kept going and more so this one because I’ve been involved in more aspects of it, it just reminded me of the joy and the love that comes from theater. There’s a quote that says ‘Home isn’t where you live, home is where you love,’ and it’s one of my favorite ones. My home is Ryan. My home is theater. My home is my grandma’s house. A lot of space for love. I just like it. And Rachel [my daughter], my home is


KSTK: Is there something you want people to know coming into the show?

Reeves: I just want people to know that no matter what happens, what they see that night, every show is different, and that we have put hours and hours and hours of work into this and I just want them to realize like what you’re seeing was hours of work and preparation and people making sure that they knew their lines making sure that they showed up making sure that they were wearing what they’re supposed to wear. And you see an hour and a half of that. And no matter what happens during that show, if we have a sound cue missed, or if it goes flawlessly, just remember that like we have put our time in, and I really hope that it’s received well.

KSTK: Is there anything else you’d want to say about this process of putting together a play and like your new role in it, too?

Reeves: Ah, I just keep encouraging it. I just think that if anybody has an urge, or they feel called to do something as far as theater goes, like, whether it’s directing, sound, stage, props, if you have just an inkling, just try for it. We’re here to help people, we’ll help you along the way, we want you to succeed, we want people to be in it. And in that same tune, just remember that if it wasn’t this show, it could be the next show. This is a fun, challenging thing. Theater is where it isn’t one of those things that everybody gets to do exactly what they want. It’s one of those where it’s what fits that show, and that your role is coming. Your time is coming. 

KSTK: Thank you. 

Reeves: Thank you!

Get in touch with KSTK at news@kstk.org or (907) 874-2345.