Please say Hello to Samantha Hires! She plays the title role of ‘Annie’ at Limelight Theatre Company. Her performances are November 9, 10, 11 and 30. Enjoy this interview with Samantha – and don’t miss her in this iconic role – she’s absolutely fantastic!
Limelight Theatre Co. (LTC): Samantha – Congratulations on landing the title and lead character of Annie in our Professional Production. How did you react when you learned you got the part?
Samantha: I was in shock and really happy at the same time. Annie has been my dream role since kindergarten! After it really hit me that I was Annie, I started jumping up and down with happiness!
LTC: That’s awesome. Can you share with us what you did to prepare for the audition – anything special or out of the ordinary in your approach?
Well, I did practice my audition song (Tomorrow) at least 100 times. But, something out of the ordinary that I did was looked up scenes from the old Annie movie and looked at how she acted and how she would move from tough to kind.
LTC: How has your previous stage experience (or classes) helped you prepare for this huge, iconic role?
This is my third year at Limelight and all of my past experiences really helped me become the actress I am today. I have been taking some classes at Limelight with Geo and it has really helped me with my dancing. Also, all my other roles have helped me learn how to memorize my lines better and I feel I’ve gotten better as a singer, the more I get to practice and perform.
LTC: Sounds like practice makes perfect! So, Annie made its Broadway debut on April 21, 1977 – that was 41 years ago! How familiar were you with the show before you decided to audition?
I was familiar with the role of Annie, as it is one of my favorite movies, but I am not familiar with the Broadway production of Annie.
LTC: Tell us, what qualities about Annie can you most identify with? What qualities of Annie would you most like to have?
I think I have the spunkiness and sassiness of Annie and I share her optimistic way of looking at things. I would most like to always be there for my friends and help them when they are feeling sad, like she always did in the orphanage.
LTC: Annie is probably the world’s most famous orphan – how are you preparing for the role, what have you done to really understand her journey?
I am preparing for this role by thinking “what would Annie feel at this moment” or “how would Annie act”. Also, I am practicing my lines and dances a lot. I am trying to picture how I would feel if I was an orphan and always wondering if my parents would ever come back for me. That helps me feel both the sadness and hopefulness she shows during her journey.
LTC: We are curious – What is your favorite song from the entire show?
Personally, my favorite song in the whole show is “Tomorrow” because of the meaning of the song…how you should always have positive thoughts like “the sun will come out tomorrow”. Also, whenever I’m sad, I always sing that song to make myself feel better.
LTC: Annie takes place in the year 1933 – during America’s Great Depression – why do you think Annie was able to keep such a positive attitude despite her own hardships and surrounded by so much sadness?
I think Annie had a positive attitude, because she wants everyone to keep their heads held up high (like in the song “Tomorrow”), because you can always find the good in people and have things to look forward to in life. Also, I think Annie is just an optimistic person about everything.
LTC: Just for fun, what other role in the show would you love to play one day?
I would also love to play Miss Hannigan. She is the villain role, but she is also funny. I think it would be fun to go from being Annie to being her enemy.
LTC: True or False: You have been singing the songs of Annie since you can remember.
100% true. I have watched Annie so many times and I loved every second of it. I remember when I was 6 years old and belting out the words to “Maybe” every time I would watch the movie.
LTC: I can only imagine – Do you know the significant connection of Annie to our hometown of Philadelphia?
I didn’t, but I looked it up on Google and I think it is that the first actress to play Annie in the Broadway musical (Andrea McArdle) was born in Philadelphia.
LTC: You got it! Have you been enjoying the rehearsal process working alongside your friends as orphans and our adult professional cast and creative team?
YES! I love every second of it! Everyone is so nice and supportive! They are very helpful and if you don’t know a dance move, they will 100% show you how to do it. We always have so much fun together, no matter what we’re doing!
LTC: What is the funniest memory you have so far during the rehearsals?
Probably when Emily (Molly) said to Jerry (the music director), “we already know that”. It’s an inside joke…another really fun part of working with my friends and the creative team at Limelight!
LTC: Lastly, what do want our audiences to know about this production?
Annie is such a heartwarming, fun and enjoyable show to watch and, from the moment it starts, you will love it!