Ipswich: Is this Suffolk's very own Doris Day? Annika Rands creates tribute show to Calamity Jane star
PUBLISHED: 10:30 16 August 2014
Doris Day, bearing mind that she is now in her 90s and living in America, may not perhaps be the first person you would expect to see gracing the stages of Suffolk any time soon. But local fans of the Calamity Jane star are in for a treat because Ipswich singer Annika Rands has devised her own solo show as a tribute to the singing legend.
Doris Day was one of the biggest stars of her era, on stage, film and television.
She was nominated for an Oscar (Academy Award), for Best Actress for her starring performance in Pillow Talk while other film hits include the classics Move Over Darling and That Touch of Mink.
After her first big hit Sentimental Journey in 1945, Doris produced 31 albums with songs including the unforgettable Que Sera, Sera, Secret Love, I’ll Never Stop Loving You and Bewitched.
Ipswich singer Annika usually spends her time singing at a variety of events and venues across East Anglia and beyond, from seaside summer shows to cabaret, weddings and night clubs.
But now she has been busy studying the work of Doris Day – YouTube has been a great help – for her new solo show A Tribute to Doris Day.
Former Copleston schoolgirl Annika has returned to her home town after a career that has taken round the world performing on cruise ships.
Annika said: “She was wonderful.
“The biggest female star of her time. I wanted to produce a show that told her story, and included her hits. No-one else is doing it so I think it can be really popular and successful.
“There are so many amazing songs and people can find out a bit more about her life.
Annika is planning to launch her new show with two performances at the Holiday Inn Ipswich Orwell, Ipswich on Septembr 14 and 15, prior to taking bookings through the winter and spring seasons.
“I think it will be really popular in seaside theatres during the summer,” she said, “including matinees for an older audience.”
As a teenager in Ipswich Annika did additional drama at Northgate arts centre, had singing lessons with singing coach Barbara Windsor and performed with Stagecoach.
“I also did amatuer shows with the Appeal Theatre Group at the Wolsey,” she said.
She went on to drama school, Rose Bruford Performing Arts, where she studied American Theatre Studies – acting, singing and dancing.
“The second year I moved out to Austin, Texas. It was amazing. It was just like Glee and American Pie.
“I had only been there four days when I auditioned for Hair, only three from the 15 of my course were selected. I got into the singing club and was in all the shows.”
She loves musical theatre and since graduation her work has included cruise cabaret work for P & O and Thomson, as well as being part of an Abba tribute act that performed on Royal Carribean cruise ships.
“Yes, I was Agnetha. Cruise work is fun and you really are a celebrity on board.”
On a summer show around the country last year, the Doris Day idea came to her. “People would come to me and say, you are like a young Doris Day.
“So I thought, why not? I began researching her music and films. The more I found out, the better idea it seemed to be.
“I am really looking forward to it.”
Mum Julie has been a great support in her plans, she says, and her aunt Denise Downing has been helping make the costumes for the Doris Day Show, scouring charity shops for suitable outfits to convert.
Julie will also be selling tickets for the launch nights, in her Ipswich hair salon, Quintessence Hair Studio in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.
Visit www.dorisdaytributeuk.com for more information