Rehearsals began today (24 April 2017) for the West End production of ANNIE at the Piccadilly Theatre. Joining the previously announced Miranda Hart who will play Miss Hannigan are 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 will be shared by Madeleine Haynes, 13-years old from Hadley Wood, Barnet, Lola Moxom, 12-years old from Rochester, Kent and Ruby Stokes, 12-years old from Hampshire. They will be joined by three teams of young performers who will play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage (see below). Amber, a 4 year-old Labradoodle, will play Annie’s dog Sandy.
Completing the company will be ensemble members Keisha Atwell, Sophie Ayers, Bobby Delaney, Nic Gibney, Patrick Harper, Ben Harrold, George Ioannides, Megan Louch, Benjamin Mundy, Ben Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, Kate Somerset How, Katie Warsop and Russell Wilcox.
ANNIE begins previews at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre on 23 May 2017 with opening night on 5 June 2017. The production is initially booking to 6 January 2018. Children’s tickets will be half price for Monday to Thursday performances. The production, directed by Nikolai Foster, is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.
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 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 will have sets 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 arrives 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.
Miranda Hart is best known on television for her hugely successful, semi-auto-biographical and multi award-wining BBC sitcom Miranda which ran from 2009 for 3 series and 2 specials. She was the recipient of a BAFTA nomination, an NTA Award and two TV Choice Awards for her performance as Chummy in the BBC television drama Call the Midwife. In 2014 she completed her first sell out stand-up arena tour My, What I Call, Live Show culminating in five shows at London’s 02 Arena. As a best-selling author her first book Is It Just Me? was the biggest selling non-fiction hardback of 2013 winning Non-Fiction Book of the Year at The National Book Awards. She followed this in 2014 with The Best of Miranda and last year
released her third book Peggy and Me. Her theatre credits include Cruising for The Bush Theatre, Come Out Eli for Battersea Arts Centre, All About Me for Soho Theatre as well as multiple appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her film credits include Spy, The Infidel, Magicians as well as upcoming The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018).
Alex Bourne’s (Daddy Warbucks) theatre credits include Mama Mia! and Rocky Horror Show on tour in the UK, Midsummer Songs at the New Wolsey Theatre, Kiss Me Kate for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, The Witches of Eastwick at the Watermill Theatre, We Will Rock You and Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion, Chicago at the Adelphi, Grease at the Cambridge Theatre, Showboat for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North and Annie on tour in the UK.
Holly Dale Spencer’s (Grace Farrell) theatre credits include Sweet Charity at the Royal Exchange Theatre, White Christmas for West Yorkshire Playhouse, American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre, the title role in Holly Golightly for Sadler’s Wells, Kiss Me Kate for Chichester Festival Theatre and the Old Vic and Annie on tour.
Since graduating from the Guildford School of Acting in 2010, Jonny Fines’ (Rooster) theatre credits include roles in Nikolai Foster’s production of Grease at the Curve, The Sound of Music on UK tour, I Love You, You’re Perfect…Now Change! at The Union Theatre, Avenue Q and Annie on tour.
Djalenga Scott’s theatre credits include Grease and An Officer and a Gentleman both directed by Nikolai Foster at the Curve, West Side Story and Annie on UK tour, Batman Live on tour in the US, Chicago at the Garrick Theatre.
The role of Molly will be alternated by Aurelia Borrelli, eight years old from Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, Ellicia Simondswood, eight years old from Lower Morden, Surrey and Nicole Subebe, seven years old from Romford, Essex. The role of Tessie will be alternated by Jessica Cartledge, ten years old from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Scarlet Grace, fourteen years old from Northaw, Hertfordshire and Dora Yolland, ten years old from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The role of Kate will be alternated by Shani Roberts, nine years old from Braintree, Essex, Emily-May Stephenson, ten years old from Swadlincote, Derbyshire and Maisie Thorn, ten years old from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. The role of Pepper will be alternated by Drew Hylton, eleven years old from Loughton, Essex, Eva MacLaughlan, ten years old from Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire and Charlotte Ross Gower, fourteen years old from Sittingbourne, Kent. The role of July will be alternated by Nancy Allsop, fourteen years old from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Carla Dixon, thirteen years old from Wimbledon, London and Isabelle Methven, thirteen years old from Harpenden, Hertfordshire. The role of Duffy will be alternated by Kya Davis, nine years old from Slough, Berkshire, Nicole Dube, twelve years old from Colchester, Essex and Kathryn Whetter, ten years old from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.