WHHS student stars in Children’s Theatre production of ‘Annie’

This past February, Diana Hutchinson, '23, made history as the first African-American actress to play Annie in the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of 'Annie.'

Photo courtesy of: Diana Hutchinson

This past February, Diana Hutchinson, '23, made history as the first African-American actress to play Annie in the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of 'Annie.'

Diana Hutchinson, ‘23, has always been a star on stage. In 2019 she performed in WHHS’s production of Xanadu Jr. as the Greek muse Erato. 

This past February, Hutchinson made history as the first African-American actress to play Annie in the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of Annie.

“I just feel very honored to get to share my story so that other young African American kids can see someone on stage that looks like them,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson first heard about this opportunity from Michael Sherman, a theatre teacher at WHHS who knew the director of the upcoming production of Annie, Eric Byrd. 

“The director was asking if they had any diverse actors that wanted to play Annie, and I was all for it,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson submitted a video audition and then had a live callback. “I actually found out I was cast because a lot of people contacted me and said things like ‘I’m so proud of you’ and ‘this is going to be a great cast,’” Hutchinson said.

This was Hutchinson’s first professional show, and was very demanding. She had rehearsal Mondays through Thursdays, along with Saturday rehearsals, making for a total of 18 hours of rehearsal a week. 

Hutchinson’s castmates included more than just humans. “Because I’m the title role, I needed to work with the dog a few weeks before anyone else,” Hutchinson said. 

Hutchinson was overwhelmed by the press she got, but she thinks it is necessary.

 “Since I’m the first African American Annie in the Children’s Theatre history, I feel like it needs to be known,” Hutchinson said.

“Annie” ran at the Taft Theatre from Feb. 29 to March 8.