Home for Annie at The Maltings

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FOLLOWING the success of last year’s production of ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ music and drama students from Longridge Towers School are returning to The Maltings with their version of the popular musical ‘Annie’ next week.

Most people are probably already familiar with the story of Annie based on the cartoon strip Little Orphan Annie. Initially the heroine has her hopes dashed when she discovers her family are dead, but it all ends happily when she is adopted by the billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

The show, with 11-year-old Daisy Sawyer in the lead role, contains many familiar songs including ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Easy Street’ and ‘Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile’.

And the cast have been working hard to ensure that audiences enjoy their performance, with the support of production director Lydia Lee and musical director Isabel Cheer, who both teach at the school.

Discussing the show, Mrs Lee said: “The search went out to find who would play Annie last September; many girls auditioned for the title role and Daisy saw off tough opposition to win the part.

“The auditionees make up a strong group of orphans who will tug at the heart-strings with their version of ‘It’s the Hard Knock Life’.”

The performance will be a chance to see new and familiar faces. Many of last year’s cast are back, with Sheona Dorrian taking on the role of Miss Hannigan, the boozy orphanage manager, and Nathaniel Forsyth as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. Laura Regan is Grace Farrell, Warbuck’s PA and Johnny Whiting is Rooster Hannigan, the manager’s no-good brother.

James Exley is Jimmy Johnson, the masked radio presenter/Hooverite.

Newcomers to The Maltings stage are Rachel Laird, who plays Rooster’s girlfriend Lily, David Martin as the butler Drake and Charlie Faed as Bert Healy, the radio announcer who helps Annie look for her parents.

The audience may also recognise some faces from the school’s previous performance of ‘Godspell’. Making a welcome return are Blair Hutchinson as President Franklin D Roosevelt and Charlotte Phillips and Karman Leung as radio performers, the Boylan Sisters. The production is also a chance for Victoria Youngman to show her worth as a star of the future as she has a solo spot in N.Y.C.

Performances will take place on March 11 and 12 and start at 7.30pm on both evenings.