NYCMom
NYCMom

July 15th, 2008, 5:55 pm #11

about the age range, that was what i was thinking ; there were girls older than 12 in orphanages! so, it's not wierd for me to see older girls like in the Dutch cast, as i guess there were teenagers too in orphanages. though i 've always been wondering at what age they used to leave the orphanage. i don't think it was 18 like today, wasn't it before ? does anyone know ?

thank you alex for all the info, it's very interesting.
Very likely true that there were older teenagers in orphanages, but in the case of the musical, Annie, the roles were not written for older teenagers.
A little off-topic but related due to age, I am interested in following 13 on Broadway, especially because of the ages of the cast members. I didn't see the Connecticut production, but I think I said before that I don't feel adults will be the show's big draw. That might be okay because have you ever seen the hordes of teen drama groups in the city??
Quote
Share

Eliza
Eliza

July 15th, 2008, 6:06 pm #12

Very likely true that there were older teenagers in orphanages, but in the case of the musical, Annie, the roles were not written for older teenagers.

No, but, at least as written in the original script, Pepper is 12, and July and Duffy are both 13. Clearly, they aren't still following the original descriptions of the orphans, as Kate is written as being seven, but, if even one of these girls is meant to be older than Annie, then having at least one "full-sized" kid seems appropriate to me.
Quote
Share

Broadway Fan
Broadway Fan

July 15th, 2008, 6:49 pm #13

I am probably the only one not loving the Dutch production, but I watched a couple of video links and didn't see anything more impressive than the US productions. Of course there may be other videos that are better that I've not seen. As far as ages, when possible no smart casting director will turn down a combination of cute AND talented in the role's age range when it can be found. I disagree with 14 and 15 year old Annies, and I won't comment on a 20 year old! The US producers may seem strict, but in most cases I think they are trying to be true to the script. The child actors should reasonably represent, in real life, the ages the roles were written for or else come off less than genuine or believable in their performances. I believe adult ages can vary more, though in adult roles that is. Adults playing orphans is crazy, IMHO.
In the UK tour, Stacey Hunt played Annie when she was 12 and 14. Both times she was very small, and gave the role her all. She was amazing. I don't think a 14 year old playing an 11 year old is bad, when you consider Brittny Kissinger who was 8, playing an 11 year old.
Quote
Share

french_girl
french_girl

July 16th, 2008, 8:43 am #14

Very likely true that there were older teenagers in orphanages, but in the case of the musical, Annie, the roles were not written for older teenagers.
A little off-topic but related due to age, I am interested in following 13 on Broadway, especially because of the ages of the cast members. I didn't see the Connecticut production, but I think I said before that I don't feel adults will be the show's big draw. That might be okay because have you ever seen the hordes of teen drama groups in the city??
13 isn't on broadway yet, is it ?
Quote
Share

Julie Stevens
Julie Stevens

July 16th, 2008, 1:38 pm #15

No. "13" has not opened on Broadway. There was a production in CA and CT.

Julie
Quote
Share

kate
kate

July 16th, 2008, 1:53 pm #16

In the UK tour, Stacey Hunt played Annie when she was 12 and 14. Both times she was very small, and gave the role her all. She was amazing. I don't think a 14 year old playing an 11 year old is bad, when you consider Brittny Kissinger who was 8, playing an 11 year old.
jemma carlisle played anie until she was 15, she was always very small.
x
Quote
Share

french_girl
french_girl

July 16th, 2008, 2:12 pm #17

i guess they have to look like an 11 year old. some 11 year olds look like Brittny kissinger looked like, some look like a 14 year old... it really depends on the person
Quote
Share

Alex
Alex

July 16th, 2008, 8:44 pm #18

I am probably the only one not loving the Dutch production, but I watched a couple of video links and didn't see anything more impressive than the US productions. Of course there may be other videos that are better that I've not seen. As far as ages, when possible no smart casting director will turn down a combination of cute AND talented in the role's age range when it can be found. I disagree with 14 and 15 year old Annies, and I won't comment on a 20 year old! The US producers may seem strict, but in most cases I think they are trying to be true to the script. The child actors should reasonably represent, in real life, the ages the roles were written for or else come off less than genuine or believable in their performances. I believe adult ages can vary more, though in adult roles that is. Adults playing orphans is crazy, IMHO.
The Dutch production is, in my opinion, superior to most UK and US productions for several reasons.

I prefer the music in the Dutch version as, although an orchestra was used, guitars and synthesised sound were used, too. It sounds so much better, more modern and upbeat, than the traditional orchestra of the Broadway and West End shows.

Then there's the tempo in Hard Knock Life. I don't like any of the English versions much, as they're slower in comparison to the Dutch one. There's none of the anger and the feeling. The only English version which has come close, in terms of being faster and not using a traditional orchestra, is the 1999 movie version. Although I agree, the movie as a whole was rubbish.
Perhaps it's just me not liking the traditional orchestra so much.

I also think the choreography used in the Dutch version of Hard Knock Life was better. It was usually altered for the girls TV appearances, as the song was shortened, but not always. See here for the full version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTy2LLmTvb8

Or here, for the full Hard Kncok Life sequence live on stage during a perfomance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5GwstpCb2k

You'll see how the 20-year-old playing Pepper doesn't really look so out of place. The producers were able to use her being older to their advantage in some scenes, like here, when she helps Molly out of the laundry cart after Hard Knock Life and later, Annie into it. Some other, younger girls wouldn't have been able to do that. the same happened in Smile.

The producers had to use an adult Pepper for several reasons. With 10 Annies and 10 of each of the other orphans, there were 60 girls in the cast and 60 minors in one production at the same time is an awful lot. They had to hire several child wranglers to look after the cast backstage and on appearances and several tutors to help them keep up with their schoolwork. Then, there was food and accomodation. Many of the girls couldn't go home, even when there was several weeks between their performances, so the producers had to put them up in a hotel, even when they weren't working. They also had to pay them all and, even though they were only paid when they worked, it all added up.

One of the girls who was cast as Annie, Neeltje De Vree, had a sister, Lieve De Vree, who could also sing, dance and act. She was very experienced and looked quite young for 20 years old, so rather than cast 10 Peppers, they decided to cast her and save some money. Not only did they save 10 times the money in wages, accomodation and food, Lieve didn't need a wrangler or a tutor, she was able to do every show and they were able to use in the ensemble, rather than employing another ensemble player. She played a servant and a Hooverville-ite.

Lieve understudied Annie because the Dutch government are very very strict regarding children only performing 24 shows a year and children can't do any more than that, even as an understudy. The girls show rota was worked out with military precision as allowing a girl to do more than 24 shows, would've had serious legal and professional consequences for the producers.

If an Annie had understudied another Annie, she would've 'used up' one of the 24 shows she was allowed to perform and messed up the show rota. Also the girls were grouped according to their height and vocal type (eg alto, soprano) so they couldn't play so well with other groups. Lieve played well all the groups and using her kept the show rota intact. Orphans, when ill, were also understudied by adults for the same reason. It only happened a handful of times in over two years.

I hope this clears things up. Sorry for any spelling errors, I'm really rushing as I have to go.

Alex
Quote
Share

sarah
sarah

July 17th, 2008, 4:32 pm #19

I always preferred to see much older girls play Annie- I thought they just dug into the part in the way that 10 and 11 year olds rarely did. As long as they're within the height restriction, it works.

Someone did tell me there was a 19 year old orphan in the original London production at one stage, but the only time I recall seeing adult orphans was in a UK tour about 8 years ago and I thought they looked terrible. Although they were small adults, at least one of them was obviously an adult. There's just something in twenty two year olds that can never be a 12 year old- certainly not in the middle of genuine 12 year olds. Ok, it saves money, saves child wrangling, saves tutoring,but if you cant afford to do the show properly or cant be bothered to do it properly, dont do it at all!(something Id love to say to a lot of theatre managements in the UK right now!)
Quote
Share

NYCMom
NYCMom

July 20th, 2008, 7:50 pm #20

The Dutch production is, in my opinion, superior to most UK and US productions for several reasons.

I prefer the music in the Dutch version as, although an orchestra was used, guitars and synthesised sound were used, too. It sounds so much better, more modern and upbeat, than the traditional orchestra of the Broadway and West End shows.

Then there's the tempo in Hard Knock Life. I don't like any of the English versions much, as they're slower in comparison to the Dutch one. There's none of the anger and the feeling. The only English version which has come close, in terms of being faster and not using a traditional orchestra, is the 1999 movie version. Although I agree, the movie as a whole was rubbish.
Perhaps it's just me not liking the traditional orchestra so much.

I also think the choreography used in the Dutch version of Hard Knock Life was better. It was usually altered for the girls TV appearances, as the song was shortened, but not always. See here for the full version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTy2LLmTvb8

Or here, for the full Hard Kncok Life sequence live on stage during a perfomance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5GwstpCb2k

You'll see how the 20-year-old playing Pepper doesn't really look so out of place. The producers were able to use her being older to their advantage in some scenes, like here, when she helps Molly out of the laundry cart after Hard Knock Life and later, Annie into it. Some other, younger girls wouldn't have been able to do that. the same happened in Smile.

The producers had to use an adult Pepper for several reasons. With 10 Annies and 10 of each of the other orphans, there were 60 girls in the cast and 60 minors in one production at the same time is an awful lot. They had to hire several child wranglers to look after the cast backstage and on appearances and several tutors to help them keep up with their schoolwork. Then, there was food and accomodation. Many of the girls couldn't go home, even when there was several weeks between their performances, so the producers had to put them up in a hotel, even when they weren't working. They also had to pay them all and, even though they were only paid when they worked, it all added up.

One of the girls who was cast as Annie, Neeltje De Vree, had a sister, Lieve De Vree, who could also sing, dance and act. She was very experienced and looked quite young for 20 years old, so rather than cast 10 Peppers, they decided to cast her and save some money. Not only did they save 10 times the money in wages, accomodation and food, Lieve didn't need a wrangler or a tutor, she was able to do every show and they were able to use in the ensemble, rather than employing another ensemble player. She played a servant and a Hooverville-ite.

Lieve understudied Annie because the Dutch government are very very strict regarding children only performing 24 shows a year and children can't do any more than that, even as an understudy. The girls show rota was worked out with military precision as allowing a girl to do more than 24 shows, would've had serious legal and professional consequences for the producers.

If an Annie had understudied another Annie, she would've 'used up' one of the 24 shows she was allowed to perform and messed up the show rota. Also the girls were grouped according to their height and vocal type (eg alto, soprano) so they couldn't play so well with other groups. Lieve played well all the groups and using her kept the show rota intact. Orphans, when ill, were also understudied by adults for the same reason. It only happened a handful of times in over two years.

I hope this clears things up. Sorry for any spelling errors, I'm really rushing as I have to go.

Alex
I can agree to disagree. And as far as the OP saying older girls put more depth into the character I think, again, that it was written for the exact depth a 10-11-12 year old girl puts into it. Also, casting adults to save money is a cop out. I agree, do it right, or not at all.
Quote
Share