Lupita plays Pepper in Queensland Musical Theatre Company’s ‘Annie’

Brisbane Adventist College Year 6 student Lupita Madrano is playing Pepper in the Queensland Musical Theatre Company’s production of Annie, one of the world’s best-loved musicals.

Running until June 9, the eleven year old performs in three of the six shows at the University of Queensland’s Schonell Theatre in a double-share role. 

This is Lupita’s biggest role to date. Set in 1933, the musical revolves around the story of orphan Annie, abandoned on the steps of the New York City orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan who makes free with physical punishment. “We are dirty and ragged and have to line up a lot,” says Lupita. With the help of the other girls, Annie escapes into the wondrous outside world.

This is Lupita’s first professional musical and she feels a mixture of excitement and nerves. “It’s unbelievable. It’s been my dream since I was young! I’m not looking forward to it — but at the same time I am!” 

Taking dancing and singing lessons for most of her life, Lupita has gained much of her acting experience playing roles in Brisbane Adventist College musicals: We Like Sheep, The King and I, and Happily Forever After (in which she played Page One). She has also performed in the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Carols Pre-show (2013, 2015, 2016), was selected to go to the August 2017 Disney Premiere in Orlando, Florida, and has featured in several Westfield Christmas carols programs.

Playing a character three years older requires Lupita to dig deep. She must be complex and tough; a bully with an honest, vulnerable side. Possibly most confronting are the two physical fights she has early on in the play.

“Playing a bully is new for me. It’s very unlike my natural personality,” says Lupita. “I have dealt with bullying in the past, but being a bully has been a real eye opener. It’s not true that sticks and stones can break your bones but names can never hurt you. Nobody deserves to be treated in the salty way that Pepper treats others. In real life I could never do that.”

With rehearsals ramping up, and in the past week or so going from 5:00-11pm Sunday to Tuesday, it’s clear that this requires not just plenty of talent but also hard work and commitment from both Lupita and her family.

Congratulations, Lupita! A little birdie tells us that there just may be some excited BAC teachers in the audience tonight!

Lupita performs 7:30pm Wednesday and Friday (June 5 & 7), and 1:30pm Saturday (June 8). Tickets for the show are still available at QTix.