A cast of 350 children think they’re gonna like it on the London stage after being chosen to star in Annie Jr., a new all-children’s version of Tony Award-winning musical Annie, which premieres at the Arts Theatre next month.
Among the huge young cast, which was whittled down from 2,900 auditionees, eight lucky Little Girls will play the title role for the production’s four-week run at the venue from 29 July to 31 August.
Featuring music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan, Annie Jr. tells the tale of a plucky 11-year-old in 1930s America who dreams of escaping the clutches of the child-hating orphanage matron Miss Hannigan and going in search of her real parents.
Featuring the well-known hits It’s The Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow, the special one-hour production follows Annie as billionaire businessman Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks invites her and her dog Sandy to his home.
Talking about Annie Jr.’s forthcoming run, the show’s director and producer Matthew Chandler said: “This is a version of Annie specially adapted by the original American creative team to be performed by talented young people. It is a fantastic opportunity for all the youngsters involved and features one of the greatest child roles ever written.
“The fact we are performing it in the West End is the icing on the cake for the youngsters involved. We have eight different teams of actors who will rotate through the week. We hope this will be a great experience for everyone taking part and we will go on to perform other big West End and Broadway musicals.”
Annie Jr. will play mainly daytime performances at the Arts Theatre alongside Green Day-inspired musical American Idiot, in which former X Factor contestant Amelia Lily makes her West End debut from 17 July to 29 September.