Faith Young, an 11-year-old girl from Kent, plays Annie, the orphan girl, in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of “Annie” this holiday season. COURTESY PHOTO, Mark Kitaoka

Faith Young, an 11-year-old girl from Kent, plays Annie, the orphan girl, in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of “Annie” this holiday season. COURTESY PHOTO, Mark Kitaoka

Keeping the Faith, grabbing the spotlight

Kent girl with Auburn theater ties earns lead role in 5th Avenue’s production of ‘Annie’ this holiday season

Fiery and determined, Faith Young says she’s a lot like Annie, the orphan girl of musical stage.

“Like Annie, I never give up and like getting things done,” said the 11-year-old, home-schooled Kent girl, who won a highly competitive series of auditions to earn the role of the beloved, resilient and cheery orphan girl in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of “Annie” this holiday season.

“She’s really optimistic, hopeful, and she never gives up, ever, even if she’s having a hard time,” Young said of Annie. “She always thinks about the bright side of things. That’s what I like about her.

“I’m pretty diligent, too,” she said, “and loud around the house.”

The second youngest of six children in Dan and Heather Young’s busy household on East Hill, Young is a charming, well-rounded and humble girl who already has a string of regional stage credits to her name as an aspiring actress, singer and producer. But landing a leading, coveted role on the big stage at the Seattle landmark theater represents one of her greatest achievements so far.

“Annie,” the family-friendly and multiple Tony Award-winning musical, began Nov. 23 and runs through Dec. 30.

“It’s different because there’s 2,000 seats, and I’ve never performed where there’s a balcony before, and that’s exciting,” she said.

Young, who alternates the role with Tacoman Visesia Fakatoufifita, broke through in her fourth try to be cast at a 5th Avenue play. The bid for the role began in April, and each subsequent month became increasingly difficult as candidates dwindled and new material was added, Young said.

Young got the nod in a role she’s played twice before at other venues. Like Annie, the orphan who sheds a hard-knock life in the musical, Young, the ambitious girl, persisted.

An ordinary girl, Young welcomes a great opportunity to work with a seasoned cast and crew.

“If she had a story to bring that would be encouraging to others, it’s sort of something like not to give up,” Dan Young said of his daughter’s efforts. “She really enjoys being in theater, working with people, being around professional actors. She thrives on that. She looks up to them. They’re her role models.”

Young was 4 when she first stepped on stage, playing Peaselblossom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She had one line.

At 7, she performed in her first musical as Tessie, one of the orphans in “Annie.”

Passionate about singing, acting and dancing, Young has performed various roles with Seattle Musical Theatre, Village Theatre KIDSTAGE, At the Ridge Theatre (Kentridge High School), Auburn Community Players (Auburn Avenue Theater) and Manestage Theatre in Puyallup, her home stage.

She commands the stage with her energy and tone, with an alto/mezzo soprano/belter voice range. She has excelled at comedic and dramatic roles, learning from other inspirational actors in the greater Seattle area.

To build and hone her skills, Young works with a voice teacher, an acting coach and takes dance classes.

When she is not rehearsing, Young can be found creating her own musicals. She likes to bake, ride her bike, swim in Lake Meridian, fish and play games with her brothers and jump on the trampoline.

For Young, theater is more play than work.

“You get to learn a lot of fun things and you get to meet a lot of nice people,” she said.

And she welcomes the spotlight, being the face on promotional billboards and TV ads for “Annie.”

“It’s pretty cool seeing my face up on a huge thing when I pass it,” she said. “It’s pretty unbelievable … getting all these things people are asking me to do. It’s really exciting and cool.”

“Annie” is under the direction of Billie Wildrick.

For tickets and performance dates and times featuring Young, visit 5thavenue.org.

Faith Young as Annie, with Timothy McCuen Piggee as Daddy Warbucks in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of “Annie.” COURTESY PHOTO, Mark Kitaoka

Faith Young as Annie, with Timothy McCuen Piggee as Daddy Warbucks in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of “Annie.” COURTESY PHOTO, Mark Kitaoka

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