Can anyone pass on info about the role of the swing orphan.  Is this a coveted - or a dud role?  In the current Australian production does the swing go on every night as an orphan and double as an understudy?  Or does she only get to go on in the event if someone is sick?

Look forward to hearing from you. 

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I always found it strange how Annie always worked that way on Broadway, while there are 3 sets of kids for Mary Poppins.  Does anyone know why that happens?  Is it just up to the individual show?

In Australia children can only work 4 hours a day, 4 days a week and have to have a 10 minute break every hour. The producers actually successfully applied to have the 3 Annies work a bit longer. Most shows out here (e.g. Love Never Dies, Mary Poppins) actually have 5 sets of kids. I imagine the main reason they didn't with Annie (aside from the huge number of kids that would require!) is because of the swing orphan - in other productions they always have to have another child (or children) backstage as an understudy (e.g. 2 of the Gustaves would be present at a Love Never Dies performance but usually only 1 would get to go on), while in Annie they have a swing there instead. I would suspect this is why Mary Poppins is triple cast on Broadway too. 
Australian children usually can't work outside of their home state either - hence why they're picking up new girls in each city! There must be some sort of exception to this rule as I know one of the Melbourne Michaels in Mary Poppins was returning for the Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth tour. Perhaps it's to do with the length of time? Not sure.
Anyway, there's a brief look into Australia's child labour laws for you!


Would you happen to have a link to a website where your child labour laws are listed? It makes me crazy to think how parents and producers in Los Angeles, where I live and work with kids doing film and television, complain about the working hours in this State. Most kids here can work a 9 1/2 hour day and any film or TV show shot outside of the State of CA does not even have to abide by the strict child labor laws of CA, as long as they hire local children.


I hope it's not bad to revive old threads, but this explains why, in the Christmas special from 1977, when they're singing "The 12 Days of Christmas" there are 7 girls, 3 on one side of Annie and Daddy Warbucks and 4 on the other. (Unless the actress playing Grace was one and was really short - being legally blind, I wouldn't be surprised. :-) ) it makes sense that they'd put the Swing orphan in there.

That was such a cool special to watch - I don't recall if I saw it when it aired in '77 or not, I'd have been quite young.

Anyway, something else this thread reminded me of, there is a great video on Youtube at of Broadway cast members being interviewed. Some share about times when someone had to go on at almost a moment's notice. I didn't quite get if one of them had been the Swing then, but I would think so, just like a utility player in baseball who can play all the infield positions and a little outfield or vice versa.


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