A Tale of Two Annies

Ordway 12/11/17

Prior to now, they lived just over 1,200 miles apart – but for the past several weeks, they have been living and breathing the same tale of the most beloved red-headed optimist. Meet Carly Gendell and Lillian Hochman, the two talented young artists who are leading the company of our Ordway Original Annie in the title role. While their journeys to the Music Theater stage were quite different, their love of performance and even their dream roles give them much common ground.


Lillian Hochman and Carly Gendell in "Annie"
A behind-the-scenes snap of Lillian Hochman (left) and Carly Gendell as Annie in Annie

Where might we have seen you onstage recently?

Lillian: The two most recent shows I’ve been in were The Little Mermaid and Titanic at Minnetonka Theater. My favorite by far was Titanic, because I was the only child role in a high school production, and I learned so much working with the cast. I still sing the songs whenever I get a chance.

Carly: When I was 10 years old, I started working professionally when I booked the role of Marcy in the Developmental Lab for School of Rock the Musical in New York City. I stayed with the production, making my Broadway Debut in School of Rock in the same role in December 2015 when I was 11. In the show, Marcy’s audition song is “Tomorrow” – what a coincidence! During my run with School of Rock, I got to perform on The View, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and The Tony Awards! I departed from the show in early November 2016 after performing in School of Rock over four hundred times!


What was your audition process like for Annie at the Ordway?

Lillian: My mom had a friend who sent her an email about the Annie auditions at The Mall of America. When my mom asked me if I wanted to audition, I thought it would be so much fun and a great learning opportunity. When I auditioned, I sort of doubted I would ever get in because I knew all of the other girls were so good, and had years and years of practice. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I have never auditioned in public before. When I came off the stage and saw my parents and grandma crying and clapping like crazy (so embarrassing!) I actually knew this was what I wanted to do.

Carly: I live in NYC, so I went to the audition there. I sang “Tomorrow” and “Maybe” and performed a couple of the sides (dialogue/scenes) from the show. After going through the audition and one callback, the Ordway offered me the role of Annie!


What is your dream role?

Lillian: Annie, of course! Now that I’ve gotten that role – my ultimate dream role would definitely be Elphaba in Wicked.

Carly: Elphaba from Wicked is one of my dream roles; Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie is another one.  I also like creating new characters, so I hope to have more opportunities to do that when I’m older.


Why do you think Annie at the Ordway is not to be missed?

Lillian: Because it’s one of a kind and there is no other show like it. From the costumes, to the sets, to the music, to the people, everything is just so amazing. You can’t forget the songs once you hear them and it’s just the best family show. From little kids to grandmas and grandpas, everybody will find something they love

Carly: Annie is a timeless tale that everyone can enjoy, especially around the holidays! The Ordway’s Annie sets, costumes, and orchestra are brilliant, and add even more to this special show!  And I love everyone in the amazing Ordway cast!


Miss Gendell will be perform the role of Annie at all evening performances and Miss Hochman will take over the role for all matinees. Annie also features local and Ordway favorites Ann Michels, Randy Schmeling, Cat Brindisi, Adam Qualls and Ivory Doublette.

Playing at the Ordway until December 31, one of the best-loved musicals of all time brings to life the extraordinary story of an orphan who ends up in the lap of luxury. Driven by her eternal optimism and spunky demeanor, Annie and her dog Sandy greet presidents, escape the clutches of the greedy Miss Hannigan, and search for a family to call their own. Tickets are available on the Annie performance page or by phone at 651.224.4222.

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