Annie wows at Wolverhampton Grand
She is best known as snooty but endearing diva Dorian Green in one of TV's best loved soaps but last night she wowed Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre audience in her latest role - as chief baddie in the musical Annie.
Lesley Joseph is starring as the villainous Agatha Hannigan, the child-abusing drunk in charge of the local orphanage, as she swaps the small screen for the stage.
The show has been going down a storm across the UK, marking the latest success in a long and celebrated career for the veteran actress, now 70.
After recording more than100 episodes over nine years of the hugely successful Birds Of A Feather, she reprived her role as the nosy Jewish housewife who lives nextdoor to common-as-muck Sharon and Tracey, played by co-stars Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson, in 2013. A second series following the lives of the Chigwell trio aired earlier this year.
Her return to the stage also marks her return to the role, as she played Miss Hannigan in a revival of Annie at the West End's Victoria Palace and on national tour in 1998 before Paul O'Grady, as his female alter ego Lily Savage, took over the part.
Set in 1930s' New York during the Great Depression, it tells the story of a spirited orphan girl who is tormented living at Miss Hannigan's orphanage.
Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, but spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie's search.
Originally a comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, which was transformed into an award-winning book and score, the new production includes all the old musical favourites: It's the Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don't Need Anything But You and Tomorrow.
It will also be a return for Lesley to the Wolverhampton stage. Her touring credits include Calendar Girls and Hot Flush! both of which have played at The Grand Theatre in recent years.
She says of her latest role: "Miss Hannigan is such a fun character, a classic musical comedy role with two great songs: Little Girls and Easy Street. I believe Easy Street is the best song in any musical."
The show opens at The Grand until Saturday.
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