Broadway has had some numerous Dramas with casting on big shows. One of the most horrible incidents happened in 1997 with the 20th Anniversary revival of Annie The Musical.
For that production which starred the late Nell Carter as “Miss Hannigan” and also featured Sutton Foster (in her early Broadway career before) appearing in the Ensemble, a Nationwide casting call sponsored by Macy’s was held finding a new leading lady to play the title role. The lucky girl who was discovered and cast as “Annie” was 12 year old Joanna Pacitti.
Before heading to New York, the production embarked on a Pre-Broadway tour. During a tour stop in Boston, Joanna Pacitti got bronchitis and they needed an immediate understudy to go on. Brittany Kissinger was plucked from playing “July” (one of the Oprhans) to the starring role. Her performance blew the producers away, they gave Brittany some additional days to go on and eventually playing the role full time. The creative team were secretly rehearsing Brittany without telling anyone. At the same time, the producers of that production of ANNIE went over to Joanna’s hotel room and told her she had talent but not the greatest in the part. From there, the producers fired Joanna.
The firing of Joanna became a publicity nightmare for the show. A devastated Joanna went on every talk show at the time where she was able to share her talent and was given more auditions and job offers from there. She eventually went on to play “Annie” in a Regional production. At the same time, Joanna and her family filed a lawsuit to the producers of the show. Joanna also later made it onto American Idol and started recording her own music.
The production went on with Brittany Kissinger in the title role at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) for 253 performances total. Brittany also made history as the youngest girl ever to play “Annie”.
How horrible?!! Thoughts?!
This is a slightly different follow up than I have seen posted. Hosted by Barbara Walters, Turning Point followed the Macy’s sponsored “contest” for the new …
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