The world’s favourite orphan is back on our doorstep.

Saturday 21 April marked not only 35 years since Annie opened on Broadway, but also the media launch for the Melbourne season, coming to The Regent Theatre in May 2012. 

Executive Producer, Walter van Nieuwkuyk announced the 3 girls who will play the role of Annie in Melbourne and introduced us to 21 other 8 – 12 years old girls who will play the orphans.

Van Nieuwkuyk boasted the 1,000 audition submissions the creative team had received for the Melbourne leg of the show, auditioning 350 and selecting just 24. The girls were quick to describe the grueling audition process they faced, fearing being cut from over five line-ups in three days.

Annie is a much-loved Broadway favorite that never goes out of style. Appearing in Australia for the third time, the 2012 production features a star-studded cast including Anthony Warlow (Warbucks), Nancye Hayes (Miss Hannigan), Todd McKenney (Rooster), Chloe Dalimore (Lily St Regis), Julie Goodwyn (Grace Farrell) and Alan Jones as President Roosevelt. 

Sharing the title role will be Monique Heath (10), Hattie Hook (10) and Caitlin Marks (11). This will be the music theatre debut for all three of the girls, Heath and Hook both with siblings who have appeared in Mary Poppins and Love Never Dies. The girls display all the quintessential features of Annie. Optimistic, charismatic and as Marks eloquently described, resilient. 

All 24 of the young girls stood confidently in front of cameras and belted out ‘Hard Knock Life’ for their onlookers. Although the show has not yet started rehearsals, and their acapella performance was queued by the Executive Producer, they gave it their all and I must admit, the energy that came from their performance gave me goose bumps.

I wanted to get to know the girls a little better to find out what had drawn them to theatre at such a young age. Speaking to the girls about how many musicals they had seen and what their favorites were, it seemed that Hairspray, A Chorus Line and Billy Elliot were the front-runners. Most intriguing for me was 9 year old Kandice Joye who informed me she has seen over 15 musicals including Cats, Mary Poppins, Wicked and Billy Elliot but her all time favorite was Dr Zhivago. How a 9-year-old girl can look past the magic of musicals like Poppins and Wicked and fall in love with something as ‘mature’ as Dr Zhivago is beyond me.

All 24 of the girls are fascinating characters and filled the room with a sense of joy that I am sure will carry over in to the theatre.

Annie opens at The Regent Theatre on May 29, 2012 for a 12 week season. Book your tickets at