The New 'Annie': Lilla Crawford to star in Broadway revival

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No more hard-knock life for Lilla! It only took nine months and 5,000 auditions, but the new Broadway revival of Annie, the classic musical about a precocious and optimistic orphan in 1930s New York City, has finally cast its lead role: 11-year-old Lilla Crawford.

Crawford, a Los Angeles native, debuted on Broadway last year as Debbie in the final cast of Billy Elliot before landing the starring role in the Tony-winning musical. “Oh, my gosh, it happened! My heart just stopped,” said Crawford in a press release. “I thought it would be so cool just to be a part of Annie, but to actually be playing Annie is a dream come true!”

Crawford’s casting isn’t the only news from the Annie front this week: Rosie O’Donnell, who was long believed to be circling the role of Miss Hannigan, tweeted last Friday, “rumor — I auditioned but didn’t get it.” (If you’re devastated, you can always watch her perform Easy Street and Little Girls from her R Family cruise in 2007.)

The production, set to open this fall, features a creative team with a host of award-winning credits: director James Lapine (Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods), choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights), costume designer Susan Hilferty (Wicked), and scenic designer David Korins. The original 1977 production of Annie ran for almost six years, spawning two successful film adaptations (and potentially a third, starring Willow Smith). Still, Annie has only seen one Broadway revival: a Nell Carter-led production that ran for just under seven months in 1997.

Could Crawford have the chops to transplant Annie’s Depression-era message to a modern audience for a successful Broadway run? Which actress should land the role of Miss Hannigan?

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