A Dream Come True: Children’s book comes to Eureka Springs stage

A Dream Come True: Children’s book comes to Eureka Springs stage

“Willo Mancifoot The Musical” will make its world debut May 5. The play brings an inspiring story, with original music and a talented cast of young performers, to the historic Eureka Springs City Auditorium.

Valerie Hubbard Damon wrote and illustrated “Willo Mancifoot and the Mugga Killa Whomps” in 1985. Even while writing this children’s book, she imagined it as a musical. She saw each page as a stage setting, and the meter of her characters’ speech often came to her with melodies.

After retiring to Eureka Springs, Damon met Cathrin Yoder, a retired college professor with the perfect set of skills to help make the dream a reality. Her first degree had come in music, and she became deeply involved with the computer technologies that were just emerging.

By the time the two had a script and songs in hand, the artistic energy around Eureka Springs became part of the process. Larry Horn, after a long career in education and theater arts, offered his services as artistic director. Technical director Marvin Jonason also brought a lifetime of experience, which shows in the elaborate sets he built for this project.

Costume designers and others with special skills stepped forward. Melanie Naumann, who owns Elite Dance Studio in Berryville, choreographed the dances. Seeing so many puzzle pieces fitting together surprised Damon at first, but she came to think of the process as an echo of the play’s message: “The more you give, the more you have.”

In Willobee Land, dragonflies, crickets and Baby Buggies live in happy harmony. The Flame Vine provides them food and also feeds the Light Wings, who brighten the world. The villains, living in a gloomy bog, come to steal the light. Instead of fighting back, everyone works together to show the invaders how to cultivate the vine and bring light to their own land. The narrator sums up the happy ending: “On fine windy days, sweet songs were heard from beyond the Bottomless Deep, sharing new words.”



‘Willo Mancifoot The Musical’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. May 5 & 2 p.m. May 6

WHERE — Eureka Springs City Auditorium

COST — $7-$15

INFO — theaud.org/tickets



Special to The Free Weekly

Categories: Family Friendly