The red-haired freckled face little girl who has captured the imagination of audiences for so many years on and off Broadway is back in Memphis. Annie is playing at the Orpheum Theater this week but it was two other little girls performing on stage who got my attention at last night’s show. Their characters are Duffy and Tessie, orphans who sing about their hard-knock life along with the title character.
But the behind-the-scenes scoop is that these two little girls portraying them in the musical are real-life sisters. Recently, I had the chance to interview Amanda and Katie Wylie and their mom, Kristin Wylie about their experience being in a traveling production.
12-year-old Amanda is just as cheerful over the phone as she is bouncing and singing on stage. “I like being able to be someone else. And I just like being on stage and having people watch me perform.”
Her younger sister, 9-year-old Katie, echoed those same sentiments saying, “I was very excited because we both were picked to be in the show.”
The two sisters are making their national tour debut at the same time in Annie and that’s like lightening striking twice in the same spot for both to win the coveted roles and beat out hundreds of other girls who auditioned for the job in New York city. It was their first time going on a major audition.
“As a parent, I was nervous because what happens if one were to make it and the other doesn’t. Thankfully we didn’t have to deal with that. I was so proud of them,” said mom Katie Wiley.
The girls live in Massachusetts and attend the Franklin School for the Performing Arts when they’re not on the road. Now they have a tutor along with all the other girls in the show to keep up with their lessons in an online school program.
“My job as a mom is that the girls are keeping themselves physically and emotionally well. But this gives us a lot of opportunities to see so many things.”
Kristen says being in the show is also a juggling act as a parent as well. She is employed full-time but she was able to negotiate with her company and her position allows the flexibility of conducting business through email and web conferences. The family says any sacrifices they’re making is well worth it.
“The girls are following their dreams and making new friends. It’s an amazing experience.”
Amanda and Katie said being in Annie inspires them to continue to do great things.
“The Annie show is all about optimism and I like conveying that message. If you stay positive anything is possible,” said Amanda. Spoken like a real pro.
There are still several shows this weekend of Annie for you to enjoy before it leaves the Bluff City.
DATES: December 16 - 18, 2016
- Friday, December 16, 2016 8:00 PM
- Saturday, December 17, 2016 2:00 PM
- Saturday, December 17, 2016 8:00 PM
- Sunday, December 18, 2016 1:00 PM
- Sunday, December 18, 2016 6:30 PM
BOX OFFICE: 901.525.3000
GROUP SALES: 901.529.4226