CHUCK KUEPFER, Staff Reporter
Dominique Le Blanc is living her dream.
The 13-year-old from Halifax, NS has landed the title role in Drayton Entertainment’s production of Annie, the rags-to-riches tale of an orphan that’s one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history.
“I’m so happy and so honoured to be playing this role because it’s my dream role,” said Le Blanc. “I’m having the time of my life and I couldn’t ask for anything better. So far it’s been just such a dream. I feel like I have to wake up from that dream and say this is real, this is actually happening.”
Annie opened on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, where it will have a six-week run. The theatre is also the place where Le Blanc landed the title role.
“The audition was a big adventure, I have to say,” said Le Blanc. “I sent in a video and then a couple weeks later I got a call back. I flew up with my mom to St. Jacobs to the theatre and then I got to audition in person for the director. Getting to play [Annie] is such an honour. Alex Mustakas has given me the opportunity to play this wonderful role and it’s so amazing.”
For Le Blanc, this week’s opening night marked her return to the stage after Annie’s run at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene and the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend this summer. Both theatres fall under the Drayton Entertainment umbrella.
Le Blanc’s debut as Annie in Penetanguishene is something she’ll never forget.
“Opening night I thought, oh my gosh, this is actually happening,” she recalled. “When I got to take the bows after that first show, it was so…there’s no word to really explain it because there are so many feelings and emotions. For me there’s truly no better feeling than being on stage and making people feel happy.”
Le Blanc’s previous stage experience has included The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol: The Musical. She has also had both film and television roles.
Annie, which debuted on Broadway in 1977, was inspired by the Little Orphan Annie comic strip from the 1920s. The musical went on to win seven Tony Awards, and later became a smash-hit motion picture starring Carol Burnett in 1982.
“Little orphan Annie is such a ball to play because she has so many different sides to her that everybody sees during the show, and I just love showing those special sides,” said Le Blanc.
Along with its iconic characters, that include Victor A. Young as billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks, Annie is known for its memorable musical score.
“The music is absolutely phenomenal and the choreography that goes with it,” said Le Blanc, who noted some of songs make you want to laugh while others make you want to cry. “It’s that kind of music that really gets you.”
For the production of Annie, director Alex Mustakas has teamed up with
Michael Lerner (music director) and Gino Berti (choreographer) to stage the musical that features such songs as Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street, N.Y.C. and Tomorrow.
The cast also features Jackie Mustakas as the cruel matron Miss Hannigan who runs the orphanage; Keith Savage as Miss Hannigan’s unscrupulous brother Rooster Hannigan; Melissa Thomson as Rooster’s scheming lady friend Lily St. Regis; and Jayne Lewis as Warbuck’s faithful secretary Grace Farrell.
The large-scale musical also features 42 local children that play orphans.
“It’s a family fun show and everybody can connect to it whether you’re five-years-old and you’ve never seen a play or musical before, or whether you’re 70 and you’ve seen Annie before,” said Le Blanc. “I just want to tell everybody to come and see the show because we’ve been working really, really hard, we’ve put everything out there, we’ve been doing our best, and I think everybody will really, really enjoy it.”
Annie plays six weeks, Nov. 13 through Dec. 23 at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (519) 747-7788, toll free at 1-855-372-9866, or online at www.stjacobscountryplayhouse.com.