A new production of the popular musical ‘Annie’ is coming SA’s way. Regarded by some as the world’s favourite family musical, the forthcoming production will star Charon Williams Ros (Mrs Lovett in ‘Sweeney Todd’) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan and Neels Claasen (‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘We Will Rock You’) as Daddy Warbucks.
Taryn Sudding (‘CATS’, ‘Sound of Music’) will play Grace, with Stephen Jubber (‘Sunset Blvd’, ‘Jersey Boys’) as Rooster, and Delray Halgryn as Lilly. Mike Huff (‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘The Sound of Music’), Candice von Litsenborgh (Audrey in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’), Stefania du Toit, Jenna Robinson, Michelle Lane and Hope Maimane complete an all-star South African cast with a special appearance by Grant Almirall (star of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘Jersey Boys’) as Bert Healey. The Resident Director is Anton Luitingh and the Resident Choreographer is Duane Alexander.
Following an extensive six month nationwide search the producers have found their three Annies to alternate in the role – Emma-Rose Blacher, Lilla Fleischmann and Caitlin Dicker.
Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search.
With its award-winning book and score, this musical includes the songs ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’ and the eternal anthem of optimism – ‘Tomorrow’.
Johannesburg: The TEATRO, Montecasino –October 12 to November 27
Performances: Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm; Sun at 2pm and 5.30pm
General Tickets: R500, R400, R300 R200
For Group Bookings and Charities, call 011 511 1988
Cape Town: Artscape Opera House –December 2 to January 8, 2017
Performances: Tuesdays to Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm and 5.30pm
General Tickets: R500, R400, R300, R200, R150
For Group Bookings and Charities, call 021 438 3301
‘Annie’ is based on Harold Gray’s popular comic strip ‘Little Orphan Annie’, which premiered in the 1920s in the New York Daily News, and became one of the most widely read strips in the 30s and 40s. Lyricist-director Martin Charnin bought a coffee table book called ‘The Life and Hard Times of Little Orphan Annie’ as a Christmas gift for a friend in 1970. The clerk at the bookstore was too busy to wrap the book, so Charnin took the book home to wrap it. Instead, he read it and fell in love with the strip, and set out to secure the rights, Christmas week of 1970. The friend never got the book.
Charnin championed the idea to colleagues Charles Strouse, a two-time Tony-winning composer, and Thomas Meehan, a short story writer for The New Yorker. It took a great deal of campaigning to get them interested, but the team was finally formed in 1971, when they began to write the musical.
After being completed, the musical was auditioned for 23 producers, all of whom turned it down. Finally, in the summer of 1976, Michael Price agreed to present it at the Goodspeed Opera House, where it underwent numerous changes, until Lewis Allen and Mike Nichols decided to produce it as their first Broadway venture.
The original 1977 production ran at the Alvin Theatre (now renamed the Neil Simon Theatre) for 2377 performances and won seven Tony Awards.
‘Annie’ has been revived twice on Broadway (1997 & 2012). As of now, it is the 13th longest running American musical in Broadway history.
‘Tomorrow’ has been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Cissy Houston, Grace Jones, Idina Menzel, Jack Topping, and more and has become one of the most sung Broadway songs in history.
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