An iconic musical like Annie needs a bit of something for added contemporary appeal.  The newest version coming to town promises just that.

International star Lesley Nicol will play Miss Hannigan in the 40th Anniversary West End production of the timeless musical ANNIE when it crosses the Atlantic and comes to Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre, April 24 to May 27, 2018.

Lesley is best known for her role as Mrs. Patmore, the bossy, frantic, exacting (but caring) head cook in the smash-hit TV series Downton Abbey. She will swap Mrs. Patmore’s cook’s apron for the housecoat of Miss Hannigan, curmudgeonly, hard-drinking, uncaring caretaker of the New York orphanage that houses the title character of the beloved musical Annie.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family.

The much-loved score includes the classics It’s A Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow and Easy Street.

The original Broadway production received seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.  In 1982, Annie was adapted for the big screen directed by John Huston with a cast including Carol Burnett (who starred as Miss Hannigan), Bernadette Peters and Albert Finney, and in 2014 a further feature film was released, directed by Will Gluck, with a cast including Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx.

Annie has a book by Thomas Meehan, adapted from the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin.

This new production comes to us direct from London’s West End where it is currently playing to sold-out houses.

The West End production is directed by Nikolai Foster, with sets and costumes designed by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Richard Brooker and orchestrations and musical direction by George Dyer.

Lesley Nicol has enjoyed a hugely diverse career, both in the UK and more recently in the US.  She started in musicals, debuting in Jesus Christ Superstar (original production) and singing her way through the theatres of Great Britain, and soon found herself back in the West End for two years playing Rosie in the original production of the smash hit Mamma Mia! and then as Kath in Our House: the Madness Musical.  She is about to return to the London stage in the upcoming Donmar Warehouse production of The York Realistpremiering in early 2018, playing Mother.

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