Director calls Annie, Jr. a success for Eureka students
Rehearsals for the Eureka Springs High School drama production of Annie, Jr. didn't start until two weeks into October, but director Rick Mann doesn't think that was a problem.
"I expected the students to have much more difficulty than they did. They've done really well," Mann said.
Annie, Jr., Mann noted, is the first musical performed by the Eureka Springs High School drama department. He explained that the production is a shortened version of the full-length musical, saying the full-length musical requires an orchestra that the school didn't have access to.
Performing a musical, he said, was a stretch for some of his students who aren't involved in choir and don't sing in public.
"Some of them were in choir, but I don't have singer singers so it's kind of a step up for them. They've done a good job on it," Mann said.
Mann's wife, Donesa Mann, agreed. Donesa Mann teaches music at Eureka Springs Elementary and Middle Schools. She previously taught in the Berryville School District, where she directed a performance of Annie, Jr.
"I'm proud. I was really amazed at the size of the cast that's pulling this off with such expertise," Donesa Mann said.
She credited her husband with directing the show well, noting that he has carpentry, singing, dancing and acting skills. The show was so good, Donesa Mann said, that her students are now asking if they can be part of a similar production.
"The kids were saying, 'That was really good. When are we going to have a program?' " Donesa Mann said. "It inspired them."
Mann said the show was a success because of its young actors, singers and dancers but noted how important community support was. The most important support, he noted, came from Cornerstone Bank. The bank sponsored the production, making it possible for the drama department to purchase the source material and soundtrack.
"To do a musical is quite a bit expensive," Mann said.
He also thanked the Eureka Springs School District, saying the administration has heavily supported the production from start to finish.
"We have a lot of support. The administration encouraged that step out. We just feel supported," Mann said.