After waiting patiently on their Joburg brethren, musical fans in Cape Town will finally be able to get their ‘Annie’ on when the perennially popular music lands at the Artscape Opera House for the Festive Season on Friday, December 2, for a run lasting until January 8.
The producers finally found their three after an extensive six month nationwide search, and they are all Capetonians. Emma-Rose Blacher, Lilla Fleischmann and Caitlin Dicker will be alternating in the titular role during the next month or so, and they are positively bubbling over with excitement to finally show friends and family what they’ve been up to up north during the last few months. “Most of my friends and family live in Cape Town and it’s always such a pleasure to perform for them, so bringing the show to Cape Town gives me a chance to show them what I’m working on,” says Blacher.
Blacher is 12 years old and attends St Cyprians School and has appeared in multiple StageCraft Productions since the age of five. Her first professional role was in Pieter Toerien’s production of ‘The Sound Of Music’, where she performed the role of Marta Von Trapp.
Fleischmann is 12 years old and is a pupil at Herzlia Primary School. Her training includes ballet, modern, tap, piano, drama and Musical Theatre Workshops. She played the role of Gretl von Trapp in the 2014 production of ‘The Sound of Music’.
Dicker is presently in Grade 9 at Herschel High School for Girls. She developed her acting talents with the Cheryl Abromowitz Drama School. In her first Artscape show at the age of five, she performed as a very enthusiastic bunny in ‘Snow White’. Over the years she has performed as a skittle in ‘Noddy’, Roo in ‘Winnie the Pooh’, Noddy in ‘Noddy’ and Christopher Robin in ‘Winnie the Pooh’.
Peter Tromp caught up with the three young performers on the eve of their triumphant return to their home town.
What was the response like from audiences in Johannesburg?
Blacher: Every time we stepped onto the stage the audience erupted and literally lifted the roof off the theatre. I will never forget it.
Dicker: It was incredible. Everyone was so supportive. It’s such a brilliant show I’m not surprised it did so well.
What do you love most about playing ‘Annie’?
Fleischmann: I love working with all the different people in the different scenes and I love working with the dog.
Blacher: Annie is a very feisty character and it is always so exciting to portray all her personality traits.
Dicker: I love being able to explore her character. I love being able to be around adults and children, because all of them are so talented. The advice and tips they have given me has helped me become the actress I am today.
Tell us about the nerves you experienced on your opening night in Joburg. How did you get through it?
Fleischmann: I was exceptionally nervous for my first show but since we lie down under the covers for 20 minutes before the show, I used that time to breathe and focus on what I needed to do. That helped a lot.
Blacher: On opening night there were a lot of things I was thinking about and I was nervous, but the best thing for me was to break the show down and take it step by step.
Dicker: I was incredibly nervous. I was in front of a very full audience, but because we have a lot of time in the bed beforehand I was able to do a lot of relaxing and calming exercises.
What can Capetonians look forward to with the show?
Blacher: Every one can expect an upbeat, family friendly, fantastic show.
Fleischmann: They are in for a big surprise, because the show has something for everyone. It’s a comedy, drama and musical all at once.
Dicker: It has some South African humour in it so it’s relatable to a local audience. Also, there is a lot of dancing in the show so, young or old, it will be loved by everyone.
How do you balance performing in a professional production with your school work and such?
Fleischmann: Luckily the run if the show is in my school holidays but in Johannesburg I had to get a tutor.
Blacher: It’s very tricky but because most of the shows are in the evening, I try to find times in the morning to study.
Dicker: My school has been very supportive and they have fortunately given me the term exams off, so that has made it a lot easier to focus on the job at hand.
Finally, what are your showbiz ambitions? Do you want to be a fulltime professional performer one day?
Dicker: Yes, that is my dream. It would be an honour to go study overseas and hopefully one day I will be able to broaden my profession into places like London or New York.
Fleischmann: I’d love to continue theatre as a career, but you never know where life may take you as you get older.
Blacher: I definitely want to go into showbiz. I have been performing since the age of five and it has always been a lifelong dream of mine to perform on Broadway or the West End. I can think of no better way to spend my life.
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