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CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
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Release: Immediate

Nov. 21 event will reward 'Tomorrow' essayist with role in 'Annie' at Hancher Auditorium

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- One little girl will win the chance to share the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium stage with the stars of "Annie" at an event beginning at noon on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Old Capitol Mall in downtown Iowa City. The five finalists in the "My Ideal Tomorrow" essay contest will vie for the Grand Prize, a role as one of the orphans in the 20th anniversary production of "Annie," which comes to Hancher Dec. 8-13. The cast includes TV and film stars Sally Struthers and Conrad John Schuck.

The Grand Prize finalists -- nine-year-old Megan Henson, nine-year-old Ventara Dillon, 11-year-old Kayla Casavant, 10-year-old Zoe Lynn Mayberry and nine-year old Georgia Flaum of Iowa City -- will read their essays at 2 p.m. for a panel of judges featuring magician Lee Iben, representing the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the "Annie" media sponsor; radio personality Roy Justis of KXIC in Iowa City; Iowa City High drama teacher Cindy Cochran; and Gene Silverman, vice president for marketing at Telegroup Inc., the corporate sponsor of the "Annie" performances.

More than 20 young essayists paid tribute to the irrepressible optimism of "Annie" with an essay based on the musical's most famous song, "Tomorrow." All the essays will be displayed at Old Capitol Mall. Each of the finalists not selected for the walk-on role will receive a pair of "Annie" tickets.

The judging will be sandwiched by as many as 20 "Annie" song-and-dance performances by more than 60 children representing after-school programs in the Iowa City area. All the participating children will receive tickets, t-shirts, pins, posters or other "Annie" merchandise.

Victor Mashburn, Hancher's development director at the University of Iowa Foundation, and Old Capitol Mall marketing director Amy Huff will also get into the act, performing their rendition of Daddy Warbucks' "I Don't Need Anything But You" from the show.

The Grand Prize winner will appear in five of the "Annie" performances in Hancher:
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; and 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. She will meet with the "Annie" tour stage manager on opening night, Dec. 8, for a briefing on the role and schedule. She will meet again with "Annie" backstage staff for a costume fitting on Dec. 9 or 10.

On Dec. 11 she will rehearse with the company before making her debut.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive four tickets to the Dec. 8 performance so that she and her family or friends can watch the show and observe her role. She will also win two tickets to the Friday night performance so that her family or friends can watch her perform.

"Annie" tickets are now on sale at the Hancher box office, 319-335-1160, or toll-free from Iowa and western Illinois, 1-800-HANCHER.

11/17/98