Directing "Annie" at the May River Theatre has stirred up a lot of emotions in Barbara Clark.
Clark fondly remembers working with Jodie Dupuis on the set of "Annie" back in March 1983. She played the part of Miss Hannagan under the direction of Dupuis, who died Jan. 21.
"It's been tough for me, only because of my longevity with Jodie," Clark said.
A professional dancer who performed in Broadway traveling productions, Dupuis co-founded the local theater with her husband, Ed, and was the theater's artistic director.
Now, Clark is directing the lighthearted musical about little orphan Annie, which will open Feb. 8 at Bluffton Town Hall's Ulmer Theater in Old Town Bluffton. The show is dedicated to Dupuis, and Clark is using most of Dupuis' choreography.
Clark said Dupuis' favorite number in the show was "Easy Street," so they are using that choreography step for step. They were able to do that because she has the 1983 production on video.
Clark said about half the cast of "Annie" are veterans of the May River Theatre, and the other half are new. Some knew Dupuis for years, while others never met her.
She said every once in a while during rehearsals someone will say something that Dupuis would have said. Those who knew her will laugh, and everyone will stop and think about her for a minute.
Clark said Dupuis came to the rehearsals whenever she could. Even as sick as she was with cancer, she wanted to be at the theater. She said Dupuis would only last about 10 minutes, and Ed would have to take her home. But Clark is glad Dupuis got to see some of the rehearsals.
"Every time I saw her, I hugged her because I didn't know when I was going to ever be able to do that again," Clark said. "And the last time she was there, I hugged her, and she whispered in my ear and she said, 'It's going to be a great show.'"