News Column

Brenham actress joins Broadway cast of 'Annie'

July 13, 2013

YellowBrix

July 13--Houston knows that Sadie Sink makes a terrific "Annie." She delighted audiences in Theatre Under The Stars' 2012 production of the classic musical, eliciting reviews like this one in the Chronicle:

"The sun comes out every time Sink's Annie marches on stage. She's a natural -- feisty but not overbearing, wistful yet tough and resilient, and she sings with the force, confidence and conviction of a pro."

Three-time Tony-winning director James Lapine must agree because he's just cast the Brenham native as the beloved redheaded orphan in the current Broadway revival.

"Every little girl wants to play Annie," Sink says. "I like her because she's always optimistic, happy and positive. She's also a very strong person. She sets out to find her parents, and she never gives up."

Sink and Taylor Richardson, both 11, will alternate as Annie beginning July 30, replacing Lilla Crawford, who has played the title role since the revival opened at Broadway's Palace Theatre in November. When either girl is not Annie, she'll play Duffy, one of the heroine's fellow orphans. Richardson has played Duffy since the revival opened, while Sink, hired as standby for various roles, also has gone on in the same part.

"As we were preparing to cast the next Annie," Lapine says (in a statement released through the show's publicist), "I realized we had two wonderful candidates already in the orphanage -- both such unique young actresses that I decided to let them share the role."

As if talent and personality were not enough, both are natural redheads.

"I've been singing the 'Annie' songs all my life, and I really love this music," Sink says. "There's no sad song in 'Annie.' Even when she sings 'Maybe' (the heroine's softest ballad), it's hopeful."

Sink also played Susan Waverly in TUTS' 2011 production of "White Christmas." Her other roles have include Mary Lennox in "The Secret Garden" and Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker."

Sink studied at TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre and Houston Family Arts Center's summer camp, where she had starred in an abbreviated version of "Annie" the year before doing the role for TUTS.

Sink was cast in "Tuck Everlasting" last fall, but the show was postponed because of problems booking the desired theater. Meanwhile, her brother Mitchell Sink played a role in "Elf" on Broadway last season. Lori Sink, their mother, accordingly moved the whole family to New York last fall.

"She was definitely born to play Annie," says Lori Sink. "Sadie and Mitchell have always enjoyed music, singing and performing," Lori Sink says. "They would put on plays at our home in Brenham."

"We had a big mirror across our wall," Sadie Sink recalls, "and Mitchell and I always loved performing in front of it. We'd make up skits, sing songs. My older brothers Caleb and Spencer are more into football. But my little sister Jacey, who is 3, sings a lot, and I think she may get into theater, too."

Sink says performing was a "just for fun" thing until, at age 8, she played Mary in "The Secret Garden" for A.D. Players. "It was a much bigger role, more serious, more learning lines and real practice. That's when I decided this was what I really wanted to do."

Sink says she's learned a lot from working with Lapine, renowned as both librettist and original director of the Stephen Sondheim musicals "Into the Woods," "Sunday in the Park With George" and "Passion."

"I love working with him. He's created an amazing production of the show. And he's so nice," Sink says.

Not surprisingly, Sink has found the move to New York thrilling. "It's so different from Texas. It's not as hot!" Another plus: She likes the delis.

Based on Harold Gray's comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," which ran from 1928 to 2010 and reached its peak popularity in the 1930s, "Annie" features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan. The show premiered in 1977 and became one of the biggest hits of the decade, winning seven Tonys (including best musical, score and book) and running for 2,377 performances. A movie version was released in 1982, followed by a 1999 TV movie, far more faithful to the stage original.

"All the original creators have come to the show," Sink says. "We celebrated Charles Strouse's 85th birthday on stage last month, which was really neat."

Sink will be in good company in "Annie." Broadway favorite Faith Prince, who won a Tony in "Guys and Dolls," takes over the role of villainous Miss Hannigan on July 19, replacing the departing Jane Lynch. Australian musical star Anthony Warlow, the revival's acclaimed Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks since the show opened, has extended his contract through December.

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(c)2013 the Houston Chronicle

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