Annie Aitken: The rising star’s addition to the Rolling Thunder cast

One of the rising stars of the Australian stage, Annie Aitken, has been announced to play the female lead of the country girl/anti-war protestor Sarah in the acclaimed rock music drama Rolling Thunder Vietnam – Songs That Defined A Generation, coming to QPAC Concert Hall and The Star Gold Coast next March.  She joins a stellar cast, including Toby Francis (Once, Kinky Boots) as the conscripted soldier AndyMatthew Pearce (Calamity Jane, Rent) as the American marine Thomas and Brisbane’s own Tom Oliver (Velvet, Marcia Hines Band), reprising the pivotal role of the good-hearted larrikin soldier Johnny. They are joined by supporting artists Imogen Moore and Will Ewing.

Rolling Thunder Vietnam showcases an outstanding cast, including TOBY FRANCIS (Once, Kinky Boots) TOM OLIVER (Velvet) and MATT PEARCE (Rent, Calamity Jane).

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Aitken, who recently played the title role in Thoroughly Modern Millie for The Production Company in Melbourne, is quickly making a name for herself as a versatile and accomplished singer, actor and dancer. Originally from Perth, the performer came to notice at Hayes Theatre Co in 2017 when she played the young Dame Nellie Melba in the new Australian musical Melba, starring the award-winning soprano Emma Matthews as the legendary opera singer.

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A small town girl has arrived in the big, bustling city! Get ready Melbourne! Our star Annie Aitken and the Thoroughly Modern Millie Company have arrived and are ready to tap dance into performances at @artscentremelbourne from August 3. Only three more sleeps to go until rehearsals start! Thanks for a magical day shooting this promo @theprodco & @aka.aus ✨ @min.mccallum for your divine vintage coat & bag 🧥💼 and lovely Gay for 💁‍♀️ & 💄 Love my fresh copper locks from my favourite salon @shibuimelbourne 👩🏻‍🦰 and my custom made @laducashoes ❤️💗 And to top off a special day, we saw 5 Millie trams in a row!! 🚃💃🏻 #TPCMillie #TPC2019 #thoroughlymodernmillie #millie #milliedillmount #melbourne #flindersstation #artscentremelbourne #musical #musicaltheatre #theatre #australia #singer #actor #dancer #red

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A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Aitken appeared in the star-studded cast of Jekyll Hyde, alongside Anthony Warlow and Jemma Rix, and this month features in the Australian comedy DreamSong in Melbourne.

Rolling Thunder Vietnam, written by Bryce Hallett and directed by David Berthold, is a unique and powerful production comprising vastly experienced musicians led by the esteemed musical director Chong Lim. It combines potent and poetic songs of the ‘60s and ‘70s, stunning video footage across four screens and truthful storytelling inspired by interviews with Vietnam War veterans and actual letters.  In an era of uncertainty and terrorism, the show about the disruption of war, civil unrest, protest and love, remains resonant and timely. Upon being conscripted, the inquisitive and caring Andy says, “My name had been drawn in the ballot for national service. It was called ‘the lottery of death’. I felt sick in the stomach. I don’t hate anybody. What has any of this got to do with me?”  Since the world premiere of Rolling Thunder Vietnam in Brisbane in 2014, it has become one of the most talked about musical and theatrical events to be created and mounted in Australia.

Producer Rebecca Blake said, “The show has earned rave reviews as an electrifying tour de force; a vibrant and emotionally-stirring production with humanity and heart. The Vietnam Vets have warmly embraced the show and that means a lot to our wider audiences…We are thrilled to have such an outstanding cast and the best musicians you could hope to find anywhere in the world.”

Encompassing conscription, combat, love letters, protest and homecoming, Rolling Thunder Vietnam is both epic and intimate, and largely illuminates the unpopular war from an Australian perspective. The narrative, set in the traumatic and fast-changing late ‘60s, draws audiences inside the lives of young men on the battlefront and their families and loved ones at home. 


WHERE & WHEN:?

GEELONG

VENUE           Geelong Arts Centre
SEASON         Friday 13 & Saturday 14 March
TIMES:           Matinee Sat 2pm & Evenings 7.30pm
TICKETS         From $79.90

BRISBANE
VENUE           QPAC Concert Hall – Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March
TIMES:           Matinee Thurs 1pm & Evening Wed 7pm
TICKETS        From $79.90

GOLD COAST
VENUE           The Star Gold Coast – Saturday 21 March, 8pm
TICKETS         From $79.90

MELBOURNE
VENUE           Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne – Wednesday 25 March, 3pm & 8pm
TICKETS         From $79.90

CANBERRA
VENUE           Canberra Theatre – Friday 27 & Saturday 28 March, 7.30pm
TICKETS         From $79.90

SYDNEY
VENUE           State Theatre – Tuesday 31 March, 7.30pm
TICKETS         From $79.90

SYDNEY
VENUE           Coliseum Theatre, West HQ – Friday 3 & Saturday 4 April
TIMES:            Matinee Fri 2pm & Evenings 8pm
TICKETS         From $79.90

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