Musical magic

Friday, April 29, 2005

The drama and emotional highs and lows involving 200 performers in a production of the popular Broadway musical "Annie" have affected a large segment of the Cape Girardeau community in recent weeks, as described in a three-part series of stories by staff writer Callie Clark Miller. Such an undertaking would be overwhelming for any theater group anywhere in America. The fact that this production rests on the shoulders -- and vocal cords -- of junior high school students makes it truly remarkable.

Those who saw the opening performance Thursday night or have heard samples performed by the talented students have been impressed. In addition to their own talent, the students have had their theatrical skills honed by a man whose devotion to performing youngsters is now legendary: Mike Dumey, the Central Junior High School teacher who has made junior-high musicals a must-see annual event.

In addition to all those young performers, Dumey oversees volunteers who build sets and make costumes. He gets former students to return for a benefit performance of popular show tunes to raise the $10,000 needed to stage a first-rate musical.

Hundreds of young students have been touched by Dumey's magic. They have been inspired. They have learned valuable life lessons. They have developed a sense of maturity at a difficult age. They have wowed thousands of fans.

The final performance of "Annie" is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the junior-high auditorium. Those fortunate to have tickets will, once again, leave shaking their heads in amazement and humming some of the familiar tunes.

For Mike Dumey and his students, it will add another success to their string of winning productions. Thank you, Mr. Dumey. And thank you, cast of "Annie."

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