THE next generation of stage stars came from all over the country to audition for the lead role in 'Annie' this Christmas.
More than 50 aspiring actresses sang their hearts out and gave their best performance of the orphan in front of Festival Productions director Tony Finnegan, in Dublin yesterday.
Finnegan will give the famous red-headed character a new lease of life at the National Concert Hall in two months' time and told the Irish Independent that finding "the perfect Annie" had been a six-month headache.
"We did Annie about seven years ago so it was about time to bring it back," Finnegan, who also plays Oliver 'Daddy' Warbucks in the forthcoming show, told the Irish Independent.
"We have to have two girls playing her because there are so many matinee and evening shows in such a limited space of time that it would be too much for just one actress.
"We already have one Annie, but it's been a challenge finding our second, because she's such a specific part.
"We held auditions and workshops in June and August, with no luck, so hopefully out of this group someone will stand out," he said.
Finnegan is on the lookout for a star who he says can be "gutsy and innocent" at the same time.
Lucy Carolan (12), from Crumlin, Co Dublin, already has experience as Annie under her belt.
"I played Annie in the Olympia theatre before and loved it, so I know the character well," she told this newspaper.
'Annie' will run at the National Concert Hall in Dublin from December 27 to January 3.