Young Achiever: pair will share Annie role
It will be a hard-knock life for Natalia Tafur and Mya Maries as they take centre stage for the hit production Annie.
Natalia, 11, and Mya, 12, fought off competition from 150 girls to land the star role as the orphan in the Gilbert and Sullivan Society show at the Earl Cameron Theatre. They will alternate performances each night when the play runs from October 1 to 31. Natalia said: “I love having the opportunity to work with Gilbert and Sullivan. They teach so many kids in Bermuda how to act, and you learn a lot from them.
“Annie’s been my dream role ever since I first saw the movie when I was 5. I’ve always wanted to be Annie, I used to role-play scenes from the movie and pretend to be her.
“I didn’t think I had a chance to get cast as Annie, there were 150 kids auditioning so I tried not to get my hopes up.”
During the auditions, Mya felt the same way. She said: “I was hoping to get Annie, but there were so many other talented kids auditioning, so I was really just hoping that I would get into the cast.
“I almost started crying when I found out I got Annie, I was very happy and excited.”
Deborah Smith-Joell, vice-president of Gilbert and Sullivan and producer for Annie, said: “We are still amazed at the talented youth of Bermuda and found it a daunting task to pick only two girls to star as our Annie.
“The turnout for auditions was overwhelming. We had 150 young girls turn out for the 52 orphan roles. After two-hour workshop and callbacks, Mya Maries and Natalia Tafur displayed what we were looking for.
“I look forward to working with these girls and the entire cast when rehearsals start the end of August.”
The production is Mya’s first major play outside school.
She said: “It’s a little bit nerve-racking but very exciting. I like making people smile and laugh with my performances, that makes me happy.”
The play, which will be directed by Nina French and Philip Shute, will be Natalia’s third production with Gilbert and Sullivan. She said: “I love being on stage, it’s a great opportunity and I’m really dedicated to the show”.
Both girls have high aspirations for the future. Natalia said: “I want to be an actress on Broadway, but I also love riding horses and want to go to the Olympics for that.”
Mya said: “Acting is something I definitely want to pursue as a career, I want to be on Broadway someday.”
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