Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Anna Lakin, who is performing as Grace in Annie. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far. LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?
AL: Annie is a piece of Americana. We all know how it ends, but we delight in the story, delight in rooting for Annie and how her character uplifts us. Also, I love how there are many strong women characters who play an active role in their own destiny. They do not need rescuing. In fact, the heroine of the show shapes the destiny of the two most powerful men in the country.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Annie can you tell us about the show?
AL: Annie is about a little girl with nothing and nobody to care for her whose optimism and drive help her realize her dreams, and inspire hope in a nation down on its luck.
LA: Talk about the character v(s) that you play in Annie. How have you developed this character?
AL:I have developed the character of Grace, as I do any character I play, first and foremost from the text. Every word she says is an insight into how she views herself, which is more than just an efficient secretary to a billionaire tycoon. Grace is an unmarried, professional career woman, which was rare at the time. She knows her value and is not afraid to assert herself when dealing with strong personalities. She falls in love with Warbucks, but does not lose any of herself in the process, which is a delicate balance to achieve. She is ever graceful (her character name is definitely not a coincidence) in her interactions with others and does not pre-judge. She falls in love with Annie for the same reasons we all do, but also because she sees in Annie a kindred spirit.
LA: Why should people come and see Annie?
AL: Well, the reason I go to the theatre is because I love a good story, and if done right, theatre is the most magical and intimate method of storytelling. The cast and directors of this production understand this and the quality of the show reflects it. The story of Annie is also perfect for the season.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
AL: I think that character development can tend to get put on the back burner in a musical which is a shame. Not so in this case. Becky has made table work for character development a priority for the entire cast; the entire cast has taken it seriously and it shows. As a result, the Principal roles do not fall into the stock character trap, and each character of the ensemble has a reason and purpose.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Annie?
AL: The magic moments for me are the most human: When the orphans surrender to wistfulness and a moment of hope while Annie sings “Maybe” to Molly, how Miss Hannigan always knows just the way to put a damper on the moment, the vulnerability in Warbucks as he tries to explain to Annie how she has made him realize what’s important in life, the delightful delusional wickedness of Rooster and Lily and the satisfaction of them getting their comeuppance, and Roosevelt and The Cabinet singing Tomorrow with Annie.
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
AL: I love that I get to dance and that Jeff and the real dancers in the show are patient with me!
LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?
AL: I am excited how the big ensemble numbers are really coming together.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
AL: Into The Woods, but after February it might be The Book of Mormon.
LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?
AL: My husband is from England so we usually spend Christmas there. I love that Christmastime in England is not just a day or two, but really a festive season where family and friends relax, visit at each other’s homes and at the pub and celebrate. So I will unabashedly admit that there is no place quite like The Quarry Bank in Timperley on Christmas Eve.
LA: Which do you like better Annie the movie or the stage version?
AL: Mmm… it’s a tossup. I will take a play over a film any day, but Albert Finney and Carol Burnett are just irresistible in the film.
LA: Where and how will you have the energy to do 24 shows?
AL: It’s not difficult to find the energy to do something you love.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
AL: Johanna in Sweeney Todd. Sondheim is brilliant, and I like that she’s a quirky ingénue in a dark and macabre play. Green Finch and Linnet Bird is a terrific song.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
AL:Lady Macbeth of course, or Rosalind.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
AL:I am a Speech Language Pathologist, I lived in Dublin for 3 years, I have the most terrific husband, son, family and friends, I run and do yoga, I love playing golf but I am not so good at it, and Annie is my first show since my son was born.