Nine-year-old California native Hannah Rose Nordberg will play the principal role of Olive Hoover in Second Stage Theatre's upcoming production of James Lapine and William Finn's Little Miss Sunshine. The new musical will kick off the company's 35th anniversary season on October 15 with an opening night to be determined.
Nordberg has been performing with the Creative Kids Youth Theater Project in Los Angeles since she was six years old, playing roles including Glinda in Wicked, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical, and Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. In 2011, she won first place in her school district for a hip-hop dance routine she choreographed that celebrated diversity.
As previously announced, the production, featuring a score by Finn and a book and direction by Lapine, will star Stephanie J. Block and Will Chase as Olive's parents, Sheryl and Richard Hoover. Additional casting for the musical will be announced in the coming weeks.
Little Miss Sunshine premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2011 and follows the down-on-their-luck Hoover family as they travel 800 miles in a Volkswagen bus to a children's beauty pageant so that youngest daughter Olive can participate. The 2006 film version, which starred Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin, received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and won two awards, for Arkin's performance as the crass grandfather and for Michael Arndt's screenplay.
Finn and Lapine have previously collaborated on the acclaimed musicals Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which Second Stage premiered in 2005 before moving to Broadway later that year.