Since news of an upcoming Broadway revival of “Annie” was released, there have been over 5,000 auditions and casting calls around the country, plus hundreds of online submissions for the title role. On Friday, April 27 on the Today Show, producers released the news that thousands of hopeful little girls have been waiting for. They have found their Annie!
After an initial audition on a whim, and five or six reported callbacks, the producers have chosen 11-year-old Lilla Crawford to headline the musical this fall. As producer Arielle Tepper Madover told the New York Daily News, “She has a gorgeous voice, is a terrific actress, wonderful dancer and a sweet girl.”
This Los Angeles native is no stranger to the stage, as she made her Broadway debut last year as Debbie in the closing cast of “Billy Elliot.” Prior to New York, Crawford performed in over a dozen shows with the Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts in LA.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Crawford discussed her audition process. “I just wanted to be a part of the show; I didn’t care what role,” she said. “But I got 5 or 6 callbacks until the last callback, then I got it.” The news was broken to her in her manager’s office, when he called her in with her mother under the pretense of performing a mock interview about dogs. The last question, according to The Huffington Post, was “How does it feel to play Annie on Broadway?”
Crawford is extremely excited to be a part of the cast. “For as long as I can remember, I just knew that I was going to be on stage,” Crawford explained. And being on stage was certainly in the cards for her. She is especially excited, as she has mentioned numerous times, to be working with the dog. The role of Sandy has not yet been cast, but according to Backstage.com, this October marks the launch of “Annie’s Search for Sandy.”
As The Huffington Post describes, “The musical is the heartwarming tale of the Depression-era orphan girl who finds happiness with a grouchy millionaire and a lovable dog.”
Crawford is well prepared to take on the role of that fiery-haired young role model for other little girls. When asked how she thought the message of “Annie” would translate for other kids who may see the show, her response was very grown up. “In the Depression especially, I think you learn to face problems and not run away from them.” It is clear that she understands the theme of the show and the positive message it sends out to its viewers. “If you have a bad day, just always think that it’ll be a new one and a good one the next day.”
The beloved musical first opened at the Alvin Theatre in April of 1977. During its almost six-year run, with over 2,000 performances, “Annie” received a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, seven Drama Desk awards, a Grammy, and seven Tony Awards. This revival will involve the talents of Tony Award-winners James Lapine as director, and Andy Blakenbuehler as choreographer. The rest of the cast has yet to be announced.
The revival is set to open this fall at a Nederlander Theatre to be announced.