Annello was a student at the Springville schools from the sixth grade until he was a junior in high school.
A year ago, Annello was a visiting artist at Shades Valley High Theater Academy. He auditioned, was accepted into the academy and the rest is history. Before all is said and done, Annello could be one of the most talented actors from St. Clair County.
“Andrew made the bold decision to transfer there (to Shades Valley) his senior year,” his mother said. “It was an easy transition for him because he makes friends easily wherever he goes.”
Annello knew at the age of 4 he was destined to be an actor and his career took off when he was 8.
“When I was 4, I saw my first Disney movie (The Lion King) in a theater,” he said. “I knew then I wanted to act and I fell in love with all the music and action.
“When I am on stage, I have the opportunity to escape this world and enter somewhere else where there are dreams and fantasies. I get to escape the real world and enter something that is real beautiful and make it your own.”
Today, Andrew stands 6-feet tall. He loves doing comedy and comedy is a huge part of his life.
Last week, Annello took on a different role — Noah in “Children of Eden.”
“This is such a dramatic role for me,” Annello said. “Everything has a meaning. I was honored to be doing the role of Noah. It taught me a lot.”
“Musical theater is his life,” Marie said. “Even though he was born with a birth defect, fibular hemimelia, which means absence of the fibular and ankle bone, along with the ankle growth plate. Therefore, he has a fused ankle.
“He never was a sports kid, but always so energetic, entertaining and funny. He has had three surgeries but has adjusted admirably and he walks without a limp of any type. This kid has come through so many adversities.”
Annello’s first surgery happened when he was 20-months old — the second at age 10, and a third when he was 14.
“He is a triple threat,” his mom said. “He can sing, dance and act. It is pure and he never has to study for it. It comes natural to him and directors love working with him.”
Marie Annello said her son is her life because had he not had all the surgeries, one leg would be seven inches shorter than the other.
“I have a special bond with him because we have been through so many things,” she said as she fought back tears. “These are tears of joy because I am so proud of him and he is remarkable. Through the good and the bad times, I have always been there, He is a momma’s boy in a good sense.
“He has good morals, good values, and he knows what chores are. We’ve been through a lot. We had one doctor who wanted to amputate his foot and I said no way. It has been a trying but wonderful journey and I would not trade it for anything.”
Five years from now, Annello sees her son on Broadway.
“He is going to audition for Children’s Theatre in the spring,” she said. “He will probably do some different things with different directors in the area. College is on the side-burner right now.
“He needs to mature some, but he has so many opportunities knocking at his door. He really wants to get that professional feel and that experience under his belt. We really are at a major crossroad in his life right now.”
Marie Annello always aspired to be an actress growing up and believes she is living her dream through her son.
“It is his passion,” she said. “He had so much energy as a small boy and someone told me to get that boy on stage somewhere. He got his start at ACTA Theater in Trussville at 8 years old.”
Recently, Andrew was in “The Proposal” and won the Best Actor award statewide. This Friday, he moves on to the Southeastern Theater Conference in Atlanta where he will perform for hundreds of people. If he wins there, the national awards are the next stop in Wisconsin.
Numerous directors have told him he is “ready for non-equity professional work.”
“They have advised him to go to Orlando, go to Disney, go on the cruise ships and get the professional experience,” his mom said. “He has a beautiful talent and it is most definitely a God-given gift.”
Andrew encourages young people who are talented in the theater field to follow their dreams because they have nothing to lose.
“I followed my dream and early on, people would tell me that I would never become an actor,” he said. “I proved them wrong. A lot of good things are happening for me right now and it’s because I had a strong passion for this business. No one is going to get in the way of my dreams and I’m not allowing anyone to take this away from me.
“Theater is my life and I feel I was put on this earth to do it. I also know had it not been for the support of my loving mother and family, I would not be the person I am today.”
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.