WHEN Akyra Skye Connell was younger her favourite musical was Annie - this morning she's jetting off to Brisbane to become an understudy for the lead role in the production.
She'll also play another orphan, along with fellow Mackay girl Kennedy Foley, 7, in the production at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre Lyric Theatre from April 7.
More than 450 registrations were received by young hopefuls keen to land a part in the production: 240 girls were selected to audition and 24 won parts.
Akyra, 13, and Kennedy will move to Brisbane with their parents while they prepare for and perform in the five-week production.
"I'm looking forward to getting out on the stage and performing in front of lots of people," Akyra said.
"I'm really nervous but I'm excited at the same time. I've been studying (Annie the movie) and watching what they do.
"(For) the first three weeks the Annies and the understudies start the rehearsals.
"Then all the orphans come in and we all rehearse together.
"They have three dogs (to play Sandy): they have the dog, the understudy dog and the extra dog. They're really, really cute!"
Kennedy said the auditions were "very fun" and she enjoyed singing, dancing and acting.
"I'm excited to see (fellow performers) Todd McKenney, Nancye Hayes, Anthony Warlow and... that's all!" she said.
"The person I really want to see is Todd McKenney."
The girls are the envy of their friends for more than one reason - they'll also miss about 10 weeks of school.
However, they've been given lots of homework to do and will be tutored for one hour each day.