Oasis Elementary School students set to perform 'Annie Jr.' Feb. 22-24

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Students and teachers at Oasis Elementary Charter School are gearing up for their annual concert, scheduled to take place February 22-24.

After months of preparation, nearly 60 third through fifth-grade students will take the stage to perform Annie Jr.

The performance is an abbreviated version of the hit musical Annie and will feature many of the famous songs from the play and will feature a full set with the kids in full costume.

This year's musical marks the eighth year the school's arts program, "Oasis Arts," has put on the annual performance. It will also be the thirteenth major musical performance the program has performed since its inception in 2009.

Over the years, the performances have become something of a must-see event attracting hundreds of attendees to each show. In the past, the students have put on such classics as Shrek Jr., Peter Pan, and more, all to a nearly sold out crowd, "Last year, we had 750 attend the shows. To see that many people in the audience is amazing," says Oasis Elementary Drama Director Dana Alvarez, who has overseen the productions since their inception eight years ago. "Everybody comes out and really enjoys the evening."

Alvarez says the plays and musicals put on by the students are not your typical elementary school plays, instead comparable to those you would see at the high school level, "People who attend see a classic musical coming to life and performed by the most talented kids in Southwest Florida," says Alvarez.

The success of the performances has also created lots of interest for the students who attend the school. This year, over 125 kids auditioned to be part of the play. After rounds of auditions, Alvarez and others involved had the daunting task of bringing it down to the 57 students who were chosen to perform on stage in the upcoming performance.

While the students were working to secure their place in the musical, dozens of parents and family members were working just as hard behind the scenes to ensure top quality set designs and costumes, "This is one of the most supportive schools I have seen. Everybody comes out to support the musicals and the students," says Alvarez.

While the pinnacle of all the hard work by those involved is the show itself, Alvarez says the experience for the children who perform and work on the musical runs much deeper, "This gives the students the chance to learn public speaking skills, collaboration skills, and teamwork. Musically, they get a theatrical education, learn how to read music and choreography. It is a great experience, especially at such a young age."

The Oasis Elementary School's production of Annie Jr. will take place February 22-24 at Ida Baker High School, located at 3500 Aqualinda Blvd. Performances begin at 6:30pm each night.

Tickets are still available for the performances. General admission tickets cost $5 per person if purchased in advance and $7 per person at the door. There is also VIP tickets (first ten rows) available for $8 per person in advance and $10 per person at the door.

Tickets are still available for the performances. General admission tickets cost $5 per person if purchased in advance and $7 per person at the door. There is also VIP tickets (first ten rows) available for $8 per person in advance and $10 per person at the door. To purchase tickets, visit www.showtix4u.com, and click on "buy tickets."

For more information, call (239) 542-1577.

Photo: official Annie Jr. cast photo, Oasis Elementary Charter School