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After performing as part of the company of 5 Star Theatricals’ (formerly Cabrillo Music Theatre) THE LITTLE MERMAID, Annie Sherman is excited to be returning to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza as the Anna Standby with The King and I non equity tour. “It is such a beautiful theatre!” she reminisced  And having lived for several years in L.A., including studying for her Masters at UCLA, she is excited to be seeing some familiar faces during the short weekend the tour will be stopping in Thousand Oaks between the Christmas and New Years holidays. And of course who doesn’t love the Southern California sunshine?

For those who do not know, non equity tours will often make brief (sometimes even one night only) stops in smaller communities, such as Thousand Oaks, versus the larger equity tours that perform in larger cities such as Los Angeles. Much time is spent on the road in the tour bus so I was curious what Annie has on her travel playlist. Never did I imagine I would learn so much about Annie in one simple answer. Currently she is listening to a lot of Regina Spektor, the Moscow-born American singer-songwriter and pianist. To hear Annie Sherman tell it, Spektor is an amazing and quirky songwriter who tells stories through her music and serves as an inspiration for the type of songwriter Annie herself would like to be known as. While we have to wait for Annie’s debut album, how about a listen to her videos on YouTube?

She does not however listen to any music prior to going on as Anna on show days. Rather, Sherman will take the time to warm up her voice, go over notes and think through intentions.  One of her favourite books she has used for research is Bombay Anna by Susan Morgan. The book has been so helpful because it is a biography about the real Anna. According to Morgan, the inspiration for the governess to the royal Siamese children in the 1950s musical The King and I, Anna Leonowens (1831–1915), was not the genteel British lady she purported to be, but a low-born, Anglo-Indian army brat who had severed ties with her family in India. Annie explained how she finds it incredible Leonowens was constantly reinventing herself with her prolific writing by telling her many stories in a different light. She was fearless.

So what does Annie insist on carrying in her luggage as she travels on her second non equity tour around the States (she previously understudied Elsa in The Sound of Music that is coming to Thousand Oaks on 31 January)? Her oil diffuser helps provide constancy in her dressing room as does a sister journal she keeps. I found the idea of this journal a fantastic idea for anyone who’s separated by distance from their loved one. Annie and her L.A.-based sister will each have the journal for a short while before passing it along to the other. How cool is that?

And in order to remember her time on tour as the Anna standby, Annie collects the programs from when she goes on. And takes lots of photos, many that her fans can enjoy too on Instagram including the gorgeous profile photo in costume (see above) where she points out the costume pieces that have been passed down including the wig worn by the late Marin Mazzie who passed away this September. As Annie puts it, she has musical theater royalty looking out for her.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Annie Sherman, the Anna standby on tour with The King and I non equity tour. And in case you want to know one more tidbit — did you know that Annie is learning to play the accordion? How unique is that?! She is taking Skype lessons from another friend here in L.A. She loves the vibe of musicals using accordions such as Cabaret, Once and Bright Star and due to the big trend of actors doubling as musicians, it will hopefully give her an edge when auditioning. Speaking of which, do you know what show Annie would love to earn her equity card on? My Fair Lady. Wouldn’t you love to see her on tour when My Fair Lady hits the road?

(c) Annie Sherman.

Until then, don’t forget to catch Annie as Anna in The King and I on Saturday (12/29) at 2pm in Thousand Oaks. And a Happy Christmas to all!

Show: The King and I (Non Equity Tour)
Current Location: Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza (December 27-30, 2018)
Prices: $44 + fees
Parking: $8 Cash Only
Age Appropriateness: 10+, family friendly entertainment!
Accessible: YES! Read my review of the TOCAP’s accessibility here.

Next StopVictoria, BC (1/2-1/6)