DRAYTON – The sun will come out tomorrow for 12-year-old Riley DeLuca.
After an exhaustive search, Drayton Entertainment has selected the Kilworth, Ontario native to portray the beloved red-headed orphan in its production of the Broadway musical Annie, which plays at two venues during the not-for-profit theatre company’s 2019 season.
Annie will open the season at the Drayton Festival Theatre playing for four weeks from June 5 to 30.
The show will then return in the fall running at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge from Oct. 2 to 27.
Earlier this year, Drayton Entertainment began looking for a young actress to portray everyone’s favourite plucky orphan.
Young hopefuls from across the province submitted videos of themselves singing Tomorrow, and a lucky few were asked to audition in person for Drayton Entertainment artistic director Alex Mustakas and director and choreographer David Connolly.
DeLuca made the cut doing a series of callbacks where she was required to perform songs and scenes from the show. She was then asked to do a final audition via video call with Connolly, who surprised her with the exciting news that she had won the coveted role.
“Riley has the loveable stage presence and feisty spirit that are essential for the role of Annie,” Mustakas said.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a young performer, and we are thrilled to give Riley the chance to spend the next few months working with some of the finest actors and creative professionals in the country.”
DeLuca is a Grade 6 student at Parkview Public School in Komoka. She is an avid performer and previously appeared in the children’s choruses for Drayton Entertainment’s productions of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and Cinderella: The Panto.
She has also been on stage in many community theatre productions including Anne of Green Gables and Willy Wonka, among others.
Annie is directed and choreographed Connolly. Connolly is joined by music director Michael Lerner, set designer Jean Claude Olivier, costume designer Rachel Berchtold and lighting designer Wendy Lundgren.
DeLuca will be on stage with a professional cast including Thom Marriott as billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks, Glynis Ranney as the wicked orphanage matron Miss Hannigan, Cynthia Smithers as Warbucks’ secretary Grace Farrell, Wade Lynch as Miss Hannigan’s conniving brother Rooster, and Jacquelyn French as his partner Lily St. Regis.
Jeremy Carver-James, Vanessa Cobham, Eric Da Costa, Kalie Hunter, Jacob James, Dani Jazzar, Susan JohnstonCollins, Sandrine Lessard-Blais, Dan Payne and Robin Warwick round out the professional company.
The orphans will include Ashley Aarts as Pepper, Grace Aarts as Molly, Brooke Bauer as Tessie and Rachel McClymont as Duffy, along with a children’s chorus at each location.
Annika Archibald, Rilee Cormier, Emma Dennis, Rylee Fascinato, Cassidy Gowing, Julia Green, Clara Hanian, Peyton Hodgson, Lily King, Chloée Legault, Maia Montanaro, Danica Novo, Emery Oudshoorn, Abbey Ringrose, Sophia Rodrigues, Noranda Rose, Abigail Taylor-Peckover, Claire Turner, Lily Villeneuve, and Sadie Villeneuve will portray the children’s chorus of orphans in the Drayton Festival Theatre production.
Aaliyah Crozier, Bella de Zoeten, Emma Douglas, Rebecca Faerman, Chloé Francis, Kate Gayman, Emma Hawley, Isabelle Hiltz, Amelia Jordan, Tevya Kurczak, Talia Lowell, Elliette Merucci, Mya Oliu, Daniella Perez Vega-Hickey, Emme Roe, Yesol Seo, Kyla Wallbank, Alli Wilkinson, Lilly Wright and Molly Wright will portray the children’s chorus of orphans in the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge production.
Three-year-old cockapoo Charlie will take on the role of Annie’s faithful furry sidekick Sandy.
The hit musical is based on Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie comic strip from the 1920s by permission of Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
With music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan, Annie made its debut on Broadway in 1977.
It won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, and the Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album.
Regular performance tickets are $48 for adults and $29 for youth under 20 years of age. Tickets for select discount dates and groups of 20 or more are $39. HST is applicable to all ticket prices.
Annie is on stage at the Drayton Festival Theatre from June 5 to 30 and the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge from Oct. 2 to Oct. 27. Tickets may be purchased at www.draytonentertainment.com, in person at any Drayton Entertainment box office or by calling toll free 1-855-372-9866.