The West

Stardom beckons for two little leading ladies plucked from more than 360 hopefuls to play the title character in the Broadway hit musical Annie at the Burswood Theatre next month.

Lilli De Nardi, 11, of Cottesloe, and Claudia Fitzgerald, 10, of Bicton, will alternate as the plucky Little Orphan Annie after passing arduous all- singing, all-dancing auditions at the WA Ballet Centre in Maylands at the weekend.

Chloe Marlow, 10, from Mullaloo, and Maddison Thomas, 11, from Lakelands, will be the Annie understudies in the rags-to-riches tale of the feisty redhead adopted by the mega-rich Daddy Warbucks during the Great Depression.

Fourteen other young performers will rotate through the support cast of seven orphans during Annie's five-week season, which starts on August 24.

"It is just a great opportunity and the one thing I wanted to do since I was little," Claudia, who is already a veteran of eight years of dance training, said. "I found it really amazing to meet all these people and just even getting called back was fun and exciting."

Lilli said she liked the character of Annie because she was strong-minded, determined and never stopped believing.

Annie director Karen Johnson-Mortimer said auditions had revealed many talented "triple threats" who could sing, dance and act, which had made the selection difficult.

The girls will begin three weeks of intensive rehearsals before they are joined by the adult cast after the end of the season in Melbourne.

The West Australian

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