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11-year-old Broadway veteran to star as newest Annie

Sunday, April 29, 2012
By Mark Kennedy, AP


NEW YORK--Broadway's newest Annie is an 11-year-old from Los Angeles who is already a Broadway veteran.

Lilla Crawford was unveiled Friday to play the title role in a revival of the Tony Award-winning musical “Annie.”

“I'm not nervous, but I am definitely so excited to start the whole process,” Crawford said in an interview. “It's going to be so fun.”

The musical is the tale of the Depression-era orphan girl who finds happiness with a grouchy millionaire and a lovable dog.

Other actresses who have had their start in “Annie” include Sarah Jessica Parker and Molly Ringwald.

Crawford beat out over 5,000 other girls to play Annie during a coast-to-coast search that spanned nine months.

“I'm incredibly proud of her,” said Crawford's mother, AnneMerie Donoghue. “I'm in awe of her. She comes from a different planet from me. It's the Talented and Gifted Planet.”

The musical, which features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan, will be directed by three-time Tony winner James Lapine and choreographed by Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler.

Based on the beloved comic strip that debuted in 1924, “Annie” first opened on Broadway in 1977 and ran for almost six years, fueled by songs including “It's the Hard-Knock Life” and “Tomorrow.” A film version was released in 1982 with Aileen Quinn playing the star and a TV version came out in 1999 starring Alicia Morton.

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