BWW Interviews: DEBUT(S) OF THE MONTH - The Orphans of ANNIE!
At the tender ages of seven to twelve years old, the multi-talented, high energy orphans of the new Broadway production of Annie are giving seasoned pros a run for their money. On stage at the Palace Theatre, Tyrah Skye Odoms, Junah Jang, Jaidyn Young, Taylor Richardson, Emily Rosenfeld and Madi Rae DiPietro bring down the house as they wreak havoc on Miss Hannigan, perform their own version of Bert Healy and the Boylon Sisters and tug at our heart strings as they long for a family to call their own.
Below, meet the orphan girls of Annie, all making their Broadway debuts, and find out why they believe you're never fully dressed without a smile!
On when she first knew she wanted to be an actress: "My brother did some acting in a couple of shows and I watched some of his shows and I was like, 'Hey I want to be an actor one day.' So then I did like auditions and stuff and now I'm on Broadway."
On finding out she got the role: "At first I was just like, 'uhhh' and then I was like, 'Oh My God!!' and it was so cool."
On her favorite song from 'Annie': "I like 'Never Fully Dressed' and I also like 'Hard Knock Life.' Those two are really fun. It's really fun to do 'Hard Knock Life' but you have to act like you're really mad...so I think about how we have to clean everyday and so it makes my face show that I'm really mad, and I think about why we have to stay up till midnight and clean and make dresses and everything. So that's easy."
On what she likes to do in her free time: "Sometimes I go to the Marriott Hotel with some of my friends from the cast and we go on these elevators and we ride all the way up to the 45th floor and that's the last floor and then it goes straight down with no stops and that's really fun!"
On why everyone loves 'Annie': I don't really know. There's been a lot of productions and whenever you think about Annie it's like, 'Oh my God I love Annie!' And everybody knows about Annie and it's just a really fun and exciting show.
On making her Broadway debut: "That was really exciting. That was the first time I was kind of nervous before the show. I'm never really nervous except for Opening Night and there was a really big crowd and everything and it was just really exciting."
On whether she's like her character 'Tessie' - "Well Tessie is really a cry baby and a whiner, so I don't think I'm really a whiner or a cry baby in life. But I think I'm similar to her because she has a point when she says everything. She's not just complaining and whining, she actually has some sort of reason behind it. She's actually being reasonable."
On when she first knew she wanted to be an actress: "Well I started in a local theater when I was four, and I've always loved singing and acting. I never knew I was going to be an actress. I never was like, 'I'm going to be on Broadway or a in a movie." Every single local theater production I was in I was always like, 'is it time yet? Is it time yet?' Singing's so fun. I've always loved it."
On what she likes to do in her free time: "I really like reading. I really love the series 'Harry Potter' especially, so whenever I get a chance I always read. I have to catch up on school work of course so I do that too, but in my free time I want to read."
On her favorite song from 'Annie': "I think 'Never Fully Dressed' is by far my favorite because it's the first time when I don't have to hide my smile. I can actually just smile and it's really fun because even in the story, the orphans are finally having their one moment when they can actually smile instead of keeping it all back and working. They can actually have a lot of fun."
On why everyone loves 'Annie': "Annie has been going on for a long time and it's so optimistic and even though it's not the Depression anymore, and the Depression was a long time ago, it's still the perfect time for Annie to come back... everyone still needs to remind themselves that it's a great life and I think that everybody knows Annie. It's just a wonderful show and it's a classic."
On making her Broadway debut: "It was really special and when I first found out that I got the role, it was a mixture of shock and surprise and amazement. I partly wasn't even believing my mom and dad when they told me, so making my Broadway debut is pretty amazing, I've got to say. I still feel like it's a dream. Sometimes I'm just like, 'one moment, I'm here, in this apartment in New York, and I'm about to go to my show.' It still seems like a dream, but when I first found out, it defintely was like a dream."
On her first impressions of New York City when she arrived for her audition: "It was kind of crazy. There were so many cars. In Virginia it's like the country, so it's a lot different."
On whether she's like her character 'Duffy': "Well Duffy doesn't really have much of a description so during rehearsals our associate director had all the orphans make up back stories so I made up one. My back story for Duffy was, since she wears a green hat in the show, my idea was that her parents gave her the hat."
On why everyone loves 'Annie': "I would have to say cause Annie is a light of hope for everyone. Like to the orphans, she sings 'Maybe' to give them hope and she gives Daddy Warbucks hope and everybody in Hooverville. So she's like a ray of sunshine."
On making her Broadway debut: It was exciting, and also I was a little bit nervous. And I've come all this way from local theater in Virginia, it's really amazing. On the first preview, that was exciting as well because it was our first show with a real audience. But when it was Opening Night, it was even more exciting."