Meera Syal will join the West End company of Annie to play the role of Miss Hannigan from 27 November 2017 for the duration of the run which concludes at London’s Piccadilly Theatre, as previously announced, on 18 February 2018.
Nikolai Foster’s West End production opened in May this year with Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan and last month Craig Revel Horwood joined the Company to play the role Following the conclusion of the West End run, Annie will embark on a five-week visit to the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, Canada.
British comedian, actor and writer Meera Syal was last on stage earlier this year in a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) at the Royal Court Theatre where her previous credits include Serious Money and The Great Celestial Cow. Her other theatre credits include Romeo & Juliet at the Garrick Theatre, Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Rafta Rafta for the National Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Killing of Sister George at the Arts Theatre, Shirley Valentine for the Menier Chocolate Factory, Bombay Dreams at the Apollo Victoria, My Girl for Theatre Royal Stratford East and Goodness Gracious Me on tour. On television, she is best known for her work in the BBC’s comedy series The Kumars at No. 42 and Goodness Gracious Me as well as roles inMidsomer Murders, Broadchurch, The Boy in the Dress, Silk, Bollywood Carmen, Doctor Who, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, The Secretary Who Stole £4 Million, Linda Green and Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee. Her film credits include Absolutely Anything, Desert Flower, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Beautiful Thing, It’s Not Unusual as well as the forthcoming The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. As a writer, her work includes My Sister Wife and Anita & Me. Syal was made an MBE in 1997 and a CBE in 2015.
The West End Company of Annie also includes Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks, Holly Dale Spencer as Grace Farrell, Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily. The title role of Annie is shared by Madeleine Haynes, 14-years old from Hadley Wood, Barnet, Lola Moxom, 12-years old from Rochester, Kent and Ruby Stokes, 12-years old from Hampshire. They are joined by three teams of young performers who play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Amber, a four-year-old Labradoodle, plays Annie’s dog Sandy.
Completing the adult company are Russell Wilcox, Bobby Delaney, Keisha Atwell, Sophie Ayers, Nic Gibney, Patrick Harper, Ben Harrold, George Ioannides, Megan Louch, Benjamin Mundy, Ben Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, Kate Somerset How and Katie Warsop.
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. Her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family…
Annie has a book by Thomas Meehan adapted from the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. The West End production has set and costumes designed by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Richard Brooker and orchestration and musical direction by George Dyer.
Foster’s production arrived in the West End 40 years after the original Broadway production opened in 1977 and received seven Tony awards including the Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. The last West End production of Annie opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1998. In 1982, Annie was adapted for the big screen directed by John Huston with a cast including Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Albert Finney and in 2014 a further feature film was released, directed by Will Gluck, with a cast including Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx. The much-loved score includes the classics It’s A Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow and Easy Street.