Musical fans in Joburg will finally be able to get their ‘Annie’ on when the perennially popular music lands at The Teatro, Montecasino on Wednesday, October 12, for a run lasting until November 27.
The Cape Town run at the Artscape Opera House will commence on December 2. (Bookings are open at Computicket, with one of the performances already sold out.)
Following an extensive six month nationwide search the producers finally found their three Annies that will alternate in the role, and they are all Capetonians, namely Emma-Rose Blacher, Lilla Fleischmann and Caitlin Dicker
Peter Tromp caught up with another Capetonian affiliated with the production, ANTON LUITINGH, Resident Director on the SA tour of ‘Annie’. Audiences will also get to see him on stage a few times a week in the role of Daddy Warbucks.
What was the production team looking for in their casting of the main role of Annie?
When your leading lady is an 11 year old girl taking on a quintessential musical theatre role, there’s a lot of pressure to ensure she’s got what it takes.
The modern musical has become hugely demanding on performers, and the ability to master the all important triple threat skill has become essential.
This new production of ‘Annie’ requires the casting of a young girl with huge acting chops, the ability to belt out a song like ‘Tomorrow’ impressively (heaven knows we’ve heard so many bad versions) and of course she needs to be able do something special with those dancing shoes.
Add all of this to the fact that she needs to encompass all the qualities of that famous little redhead orphan, with a big attitude and a joy for life and you’ve got your work cut out for you in the audition room. Lucky for us we found three spectacular Capetonian girls who are just perfect and will be alternating the role of Annie in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Why should audiences be excited for these three young actresses?
Well simply because it is yet another example of the level of talent in South Africa being world class. Hopefully with the help of our producers Pieter Toerien and Hazel Feldman, we will be able to enjoy even more musicals here on our shores with exciting roles for children like ‘Matilda’, ‘Billy Elliot’ and ‘School of Rock’.
I can confidently say that audiences will be amazed at the level of talent and professionalism on that stage, not only from our Annies, but all the girls who are playing our orphans too.
Why do you think ‘Annie’ is so beloved by audiences, even today?
‘Annie’ is one of those beautifully constructed musicals with a whole bunch of catchy show tunes to boot. It’s a warm hearted Christmas musical set during the depression, but ironically is the furthest thing from depressing.
Despite the levels of social deprivation experienced by a whole host of characters in the show (and this particularly gritty and gutsy production thankfully refuses to buy into the cheesy, saccharine versions of old), it is essentially a fairytale that proves that with a little optimism and appreciation of the simpler things in life, there is hope for a better tomorrow.
After all these years, ‘Annie’ still brings joy to the heart and a tear to the eye.