CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—Evie Kunz, an 11-year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, starred in the Theatre Cedar Rapids’ production of Annie in December.
Her mother, a Cuba City High School graduate, Patti (Timmerman) Kunz, said Evie competed among 125 girls for the leading role.
“This was a great opportunity for her,” Patti said.
Evie auditioned at the end of August and started rehearsals in October. The show ran from Nov. 17 to Dec. 17, a total of 15 performances held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays each week.
“She did great,” Patti said. “We are absolutely so proud of her and how she handled everything. She stayed on top of all of her responsibilities, from the show to school to home.”
Patti said Evie first got into acting in first grade when she brought a note home for the local high school needing children for their performance.
“She came home and said she wanted to do this,” Patti said. “I told her she had to audition and that it didn’t mean she would get the part.”
That led to her auditioning and earning parts in two separate performances: The King and I and The Sound of Music, where she was one of the Von Trapp children. Her parents took her to vocal lessons and her coach encouraged her to do some more parts and try out for Annie.
“When I walked in, I didn’t realize it was such a huge deal,” Evie said. “There were 62 auditions for Annie the first day and 63 the second day. I didn’t know if I had a chance or not. I was nervous about going in there, but when I got called back, it made me cry.”
“She got called back along with six other girls,” Patti said. “The theater put the final cast selection on its website and I wanted to tell her the news as soon as I found out. I went to her school and her guidance counselor brought out a laptop sowe could check the website together.”
Patti said she was ecstatic that she was chosen for the part.
“It was an amazing experience,” Evie said. “I really loved it. I met a lot of new people and the director was really great.”
Evie said this was a much bigger show than she had been in before, for both the size of the cast and the theater. The theater housed 550 people each night. Evie said that didn’t bother her; she couldn’t see any of them. She had someone in the crowd every night. She said lots of family and friends came to the show to support her. She enjoyed going out every night after the performance.
“It is a big time commitment, but it was awesome,” Evie said. “It is the first time I got a lead role.”
Patti said she couldn’t complain about her daughter being involved in the show.
“Kids are involved in so many activities anymore,” Patti said. “I dropped her off and picked her up, which was a normal routine for us. She had practice every single day. We only live 10-15 minutes from the theater, so it really wasn’t anything extra for us. We just had to keep her healthy and stay on top of everything. She is a responsible kid and handled it all really well on her own. The theater does a great job working with kids. They know the limits of what a kid can handle. It was a great experience for our family.”
Evie turned 11 years old on Jan. 10.
“We went back and watched the movie and learned that Annie was 10, so Evie at 11 fit the part really well,” Patti said.
“I hope to do more acting,” Evie said. She plans to audition for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat taking place in May at Theatre Cedar Rapids.