Thank you, Cecile. I have not seen these before. Interesting, although we don't know any more in this Annie mystery! It sounds like the reason for the firing was poor acting? Strange, when after intensive auditions, Martin said Joanna can act, in Turning Point.It was nice of Joanna to say good things about Brittny, who was also a pawn in the game.
I agree with everything you said!
I just don't by the "she couldn't act" line. Brittney was definitely no better as an actress than Joanna. I think they decided Joanna was too old looking for the part. Martin has continuously been choosing small Annies since that revival... often times at the expense of powerful vocal chops.
I could not believe that Sydney Shuck didn't get Annie in the tour... she has a beautiful voice traditional belt, red hair with freckles, and has a scrappy mischievous look out her that would have been perfect for Annie.
I totally agree about Sydney! Personally the older Annie's are my favorites.
It´s a really sad story. The producers could have handled this a lot better. I´m sure they had a reason for replacing the lead role, and we will never actually know what that reason was (not that we should know either, its really none of our business), but they could have done this in a much more professional way.
This is really the down side of the business, especially for kids, and it has happened before, for example in Oliver on Broadway about ten years earlier than this, when Braden Danner took over the lead role before it opened. Nancy Carson has written about that somewhere I believe. The difference was that the producers and the agent in that case handled it much better. I´m sure it was very hard for the kid who got replaced, but it seemed to have been worked out professionally.
There was a ton of press after that incident. She is an adult now and likely would not want to re-open that painful time in her life. I'm sure you had good intentions, but you might want to consider that before messaging someone about something so personal
Yes I know, Joanna and I have talked about it before. I told her what the thread was about, video's included, and told her if she was uncomfortable with it, not to worry and skip the forum question. I did however say it would be nice of her to stop by on the forum and say hello to all the Annie fans, including her fans, like myself.
Martin started casting smaller, younger Annies in the original Broadway run. Allison was 10 or 11 and Alyson was 8 or 9. Andrea was a small for her age 13 and I think Sarah was 12 (not sure how old Shelly was when cast).
The practical reason for casting younger and smaller is that the lead can stay in the role longer. Given the unpredictable nature of puberty you can't have an Annie who goes from daughter to potential date during a run. (Yes, it's creepy when I typed it but one of the actresses in Julie's documentary observed that the running joke/ rule of thumb was that when the stage hands started to take notice of an orphan it was time to recast).
In some cases you have to start young when casting. I think casting for the 2012 revival started almost a year before opening. Lilla and Jaidyn were both 10 when they auditioned and 11 when the show opened and 12 when they left. Taylor and Sadie were, I think, a year younger. Sometimes you get lucky. Emily Rosenfeld, Molly in the revival, kept the role for the entire year and a half run of the show. She was a tiny 8 (and a half) when it started and really didn't grow during the run.
As for Sydney Shuck, maybe she's grown too tall or is on the way to being too tall? Or, it could be that being on tour for a long time can be grueling and with two other performing sisters it was time for the family to come back together?
There is also the practical matter of cost. For an equity show, raises are part of the contract, the longer you are in a role, the more you will cost. Not sure about non-equity shows.
Andrea was 13, Shelley was also 13 when cast as Annie, Sarah Jessica 14, and Allison 10. Alyson was 12. I believe Kristi Coombs was the first micro- Annie in an original tour? I think the producers would want a child to stay in the show at least a year so I agree with you about growing as a concern- they would have to retrain, make new costumes, re-publicize etc with a replacement. But Joanna was much bigger than Brittny when cast and her understudy Alexandra was a girl at least as big as Joanna. They knew this. The girls were frequently measured as a proviso to their contracts I think- if they were taller than the height required, they would be given notice.I don't see size as the reason for hiring Brittny although maybe the 'secret training' made them re-think the presentation of the role and character as a smaller girl.