In recent years a new idea in the world of photography has gained momentum – the alter ego images. A person creates the exact opposite of themselves or who they’d like to be, by playing dress up and transforming their entire look in hopes of gaining some sort of emotional satisfaction from the outcome.

The same satisfaction can sometimes be acheived on stage, in costume, with spotlights following your every move. A perfect example would be actor Garrett Deagon currently playing the role of Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan in the Broadway musical “Annie”, coming to the Belk Theater in Charlotte on July 14th.

I was able to catch up with the actor to discuss his current role, his love of performing, and life on the road. Minutes earlier, Deagon had just returned from a day of kayaking on the lake in Dallas, and took a break for our call. A native northern Californian, he confessed, “Playing the villain is so fun! We all lead such wholesome lives offstage, that we just get to let it all out onstage.” Rooster Hannigan, the brother of Ms. Agatha Hannigan, the orphanage matron and a supreme alcoholic, comprises a scheme with his girlfriend, Lily, to gain thousands of dollars by posing  as Annie’s birth parents. The brown-haired guy with a scruffy face and slim frame is thoroughly reveling in his villainous behavior. “I try to make him a little bit relatable so he’s not so scary,” says Deagon. He even gave me a heads up on a little rooster-calling he manages to pull off during the show.

It’s estimated that a version of “Annie” is performed 700-900 times a year worldwide, so plenty of Rooster’s will have hatched throughout the year. Deagon gushes, “I just signed up for year two so that’s 600 and something Annie’s.” The life of an actor can be so unpredictable with shows lasting days and sometimes weeks, but it’s rare to be on tour for an extended period of time. “It’s normally a few weeks and then back to New York to look for something else. This is unheard of, just unreal.”

Though this tour doesn’t hold a candle to the original six year run of “Annie” on Broadway beginning in April, 1977 and closing in January 1983 (with 2,377 performances on the books), Deagon boasts that the original director, Martin Charnin, has signed on and has made subtle but fantastic changes. “From start to finish is fascinating! You’re going to have so much fun.”

Since this is Deagon’s first national tour, he’s enjoying traveling and seeing the country though it can pose a few problems. “As soon as I get used to things and figure out where I’m going, it’s off to the next place and I have to figure it out all over again.” He mentions missing his family but has had several breaks during the tour to visit home. He would eventually like to settle in New York, like most, and have a comfortable career with the one thing he’s loved since seventh grade – being on stage.

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Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus