The sun came out June 2 for thousands of hopeful Annie wannabes at Macy*s Herald Square in New York City. They lined up around the block at the kick-off audition in the nationwide search for the girl who will play Little Orphan Annie in the 20th anniversary revival production of the 1977 Tony Award-winning Broadway show.
All you needed to be was a 4' 6" or less 7-12 year old girl -- a belter, but not a soprano. There were lots of curls and several natural redheads who came from far and near. One girl even flew in from Chandler, AZ, just for this early morning audition.
Macy*s personnel monitored the height qualification by asking each child to enter Macy*s through a just-the-right-size Annie cut-out. Twenty girls at a time filed in to sing "Tomorrow" for the show's director/lyricist, Martin Charnin, who personally supervised the audition. "Do you tap dance?" asked Charnin. Heads nodded in response, and one girl eagerly called out, "I used to take lessons."
This was the first of five city search for the beloved Broadway orphan. Additional auditions will be held at Macy*s stores in Boston, (June 9), Miami (June 17), Atlanta (June 19) and Philadelphia (June 23). Finalists from each regional audition will then be brought to New York for a final callback, with the winner announced at Macy*s Herald Square August 8.
In December, the 20th Anniversary production of Annie will begin its pre-Broadway tour, and open on Broadway in April of 1997. Nell Carter will play Miss Hannigan, the role which won a Tony Award for Dorothy Loudon in 1977. Former Annies include Andrea McArdle, who originated the role, and Sarah Jessica Parker, the third Broadway Annie. Both are currently working on Broadway.