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Directors: Jason Cohen
Cast: Kristen Bell, Matt Fowler, Adam Wachter

Episode One – “Annie” Air Date: 19/11/2019
Encore! is currently available to stream to on Disney+ with new episodes every Friday.

Looking at the poster for Encore! you would be forgiven for thinking it’s some sort of Disney+ talent show with Kristen Bell as the host. It’s not. Encore! is about gathering the students of a High School musical production back together and having them re-learn the show over a week before performing the show for an audience. It’s a unique and fresh concept that proves well-worth watching in its first episode. 

In the premiere episode, the students of Santana High School gather together after 23 years to perform the classic broadway hit, Annie. They meet at the school one-by-one slowly rolling in as the cameras catch a very long and overdue High School reunion for many. Eventually, the cast is assembled bare one, Jeremy, who it seems was unwilling, or unable to get a day off work to attend and won’t show up until the following day. Those that are in attendance are introduced to the production, musical and choreography directors and get straight into working on what they need to in order to perform Annie.

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With only a couple of days to learn everything again, the show moves very fast, even with an hour-long runtime. It’s interesting to see some of the Annie cast pickup the play again faster than others, but the drama and intrigue for Encore! comes from the human element. A lot of these people haven’t seen each other for a long time and there is often tension, or unsaid words hanging in the air. This is most evident with Jeremy’s arrival the next day who was dating one of the cast when they left school, but soon broke up — it was his fault. 

Jeremy is an alpha-male and also the most interesting person in the Annie production because of what he’s been through as a kid in High School. I won’t spoil it, but when they reveal it in the show I was taken back a bit given what I was thinking of Jeremy at this point. However, with only an hour the show doesn’t have enough time to truly dig into the most interesting human story it has in front of them.