How two girls solveda problem like Annie

PUBLISHED: 07:25 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 21:21 29 May 2010

Josie Olney (left) and Abigail Tyrell will play the lead role in Annie - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Josie Olney (left) and Abigail Tyrell will play the lead role in Annie - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

TWO girls are celebrating after landing the lead roles in a production of the hit musical Annie, which opens on Monday. Abigail Tyrell, 13, and Josie Olney, 10, were chosen by the Braintree Musical Society after a gruelling day of auditions one Sunday in

TWO girls are celebrating after landing the lead roles in a production of the hit musical Annie, which opens on Monday.

Abigail Tyrell, 13, and Josie Olney, 10, were chosen by the Braintree Musical Society after a gruelling day of auditions one Sunday in April when the hopefuls were whittled down to a shortlist of four.

"She just sat by the phone and when she got it she was screaming and really excited," said Abigail's mum Shirley.

"She is thinking about a showbusiness career when she is older."

Abigail, from Kidder Road, Rayne, attends the Helen Romanes School in Dunmow and has been dancing since she was five years old. She has featured in the society's recent productions of The Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun and HMS Penifore. She has also performed in the Great Bardfield panto and was the Dunmow Carnival princess last year.

In contrast, Josie, from Bridge Street, Great Bardfield, has no theatre experience and was surprised to land her big part, especially as she was only nine at the time of the audition.

"I was more excited than nervous at the audition," said the Great Sampford School pupil. "I've always wanted to be on the stage. I'm really, really looking forward to the first performance, I won't be able to sleep the night before.

"My friends and family are excited and lots of them are coming to see it - they think it's amazing that I got the part."

Abigail said: "I had a really good audition, I was shaking beforehand.

"I was screaming down the phone when they gave me the part. They had me on speakerphone, so everyone could hear my reaction.

"It was quite a challenge learning all the lines, but I've learnt them now and it's going really well."

She added: "My family are coming from all over to watch it. We've sold about 90 tickets ourselves and I've got aunts coming from London, Kent and Bath just to see it."

Due to there being seven performances in one week, the role has been split so Josie will play Annie in the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday matinee, with Abigail doing the Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening shows.

Since being chosen to play Annie, the girls have undergone a gruelling rehearsal schedule in preparation for next week.

But despite this, Josie's mum Flora is thrilled that her daughter has been given the chance.

"I never thought she would get the part as she has never really done anything like it before," said Flora. "Josie was so desperate to be in it and gave it all she could. She burst into tears when she got the phone call and is enjoying every minute of it.

"It was a dream come true for her, she did brilliantly well."

The production opens at the Braintree Institute on Monday at 7.30pm. The show runs until Saturday, when there is also a matinee at 3pm. Tickets cost £5-£8 from the box office on 07835 122663.

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