Press Release – Skip Ink
Wanted: one mid-sized dog with sandy coloured hair and star qualities. If this description fits your pooch, then the UK-based producers of ANNIE – one of the best-loved stage musicals of all time – want to see you both at the TSB Arena in Wellington on Monday, 3rd March.
They’re looking for a dog to play the role of Sandy in the UK production of ANNIE which opens on 23 May at the St James Theatre, Wellington.
The dog should have a medium to long coat, be at least 18 months old, and must be comfortable with children, strangers and being away from its master. The dog should also be able to tolerate loud noise and be food-focused for training.
Owners are asked to simply bring their dogs along to their closest venue for a 10am start. The dogs will first be assessed on their appearance. Suitable pooches will then be put through their paces with a 10 minute basic “sit, stay” trial. Those that make it through this round will then be put through more progressive tests.
The canine chosen to play the part of Sandy will be required for rehearsals prior to the season in Wellington from 10thMay – 23rd May, and then nightly performances (except Mondays) and Saturday and Sunday matinees through to the end of the season on 8th June. In Auckland they will be required for rehearsals prior to the season from 31st May – 12th June and then nightly performances (except Mondays) and Saturday and Sunday matinees from 13th June through to the end of the season on 6th July.
The dogs will need to be housed at home with the owners and brought into the theatre each day/night for the rehearsals and performances, so they need to live in either Wellington or Auckland.
The trials will be overseen by expert handler Maria Alomajan, author of Dogs in Action. Maria has vast experience in stage, film and television scenes in the UK, USA and New Zealand.
From its Broadway beginnings to the classic film musical, the heart-warming rags-to-riches story of plucky young Annie’s journey from the hard-knock New York orphanage to the luxurious home of billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks, is a tale that has been told all over the world for decades.
The toe-tapping score for ANNIE features some of the best-known songs in musical theatre, including “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow”.
ANNIE also boasts spectacular sets, glorious costumes, a hilarious script and of course the adorable dog Sandy. The show will be produced by UK-based Lunchbox Theatrical Productions which has offices in New Zealand and Australia, and David Atkins Enterprises of Australia in association with Playhouse Productions (UK).
More than 50 million people of all ages have been delighted by three Broadway runs of ANNIE, two Australian tours, two West End stints, five National US companies, two hit movies (1982 and 1999) with a third due for release in December 2014, and dozens of international productions, playing seasons all over the world.
This UK production of ANNIE has been seen by over 3 million people during its tour to every major city in Great Britain, and last year played sell-out seasons in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Leading the stellar cast is the UK’s hilarious star of stage and screen, Su Pollard, and David McAlister, a veteran of the West End stage and TV dramas.
Perhaps best known for her brilliantly funny portrayal of Peggy in the hit BBC TV series Hi-de-Hi!, Su Pollard will play the devious, gin-soaked Miss Hannigan, headmistress of the hard-knock New York City Municipal Orphanage. The BAFTA Award-winning Hi-de-Hi! was a prime time favourite on UK television for eight years in the 1980s, turning its cast into household names. Hi-de-Hi! is currently screening on Sky TV’s Jones channel.
Playing the kindly billionaire businessman Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks is David McAlister. David has enjoyed success in nearly every area of the entertainment industry from opera to TV comedy and soaps including Eastenders, Emmerdale andHollyoaks. His West End performances include the lead role in The Mousetrap, A Month in the Country with Ingrid Bergman,The Sound of Music and the lead role of Noel Coward opposite Joanna Lumley in Noel & Gertie at London’s famous King’s Head Theatre.
Making a welcome return to New Zealand is MiG Ayesa in the role of Rooster — Miss Hannigan’s scheming brother. MiG was last seen on these shores in the lead role of Galileo Figaro in the hit musical We Will Rock You in 2007, following his success in the hugely popular TV show, Rock Star: INXS. MiG has performed in many West End and Broadway musicals including Rent, Rock of Ages and Thriller Live.
Playing the role of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt is Frazer Hines, best known as Joe Sugden in Emmerdale for 22 years, and with 117 episodes as the Doctor’s assistant in Dr Who to his credit. Also joining the cast are two stars from the hit BBC TV comedy series ‘Allo ‘Allo – Sue Hodge, who played waitress Mimi Labonq for five years, and John D Collins who played Flying Officer Fairfax for ten years.
Inspired by Harold Gray’s famous comic strip Little Orphan Annie which first ran in the New York News in 1924, ANNIE is set in Depression Era New York City at a time when the economy looked bleak, government seemed ineffective and the average citizen was desperate and frustrated. With its hopeful message and unwavering belief in a better tomorrow,ANNIE made its Broadway debut in April 1977 and played 2377 performances before closing in 1983. The show won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan), Best Original Score (music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin), and Best Choreography.
Now, 37 years after its Broadway debut, the timeless tale of Little Orphan Annie will be coming to New Zealand, giving a whole new generation the chance to experience a classic musical about never giving up hope. ANNIE is a delightful theatrical experience for any age.