Details on Joanna's Settlement
by Jon Merrill (
New York Post, May 3, 2001
SACKED ANNIE A MILLIONAIRE AS MACYS SETTLES
The girl who won a Macys contest to play Annie on Broadway--only to be dumped two weeks before the show opened--is getting a multimillion-dollar settlement from the store.
Lawyers for Macys and 16-year-old Joanna Pacitti hammered out the deal last month, a source close to the case told The Post.
It is worth several million dollars, the source said.
The hard-knock case stems from a contest staged for the 20th anniversary revival of Annie four years ago.
Macys struck a deal with producers to conduct a nationwide contest to pick Broadways New Annie, and Joanna, then 12, beat out four semifinalists for the role of the fire-haired, comic strip orphan.
But in February 1997, two weeks before opening night, the producers faxed Joanna the news that she was being replaced by her 8-year-old understudy, Brittny Kissinger.
Sources told The Post at the time that the producers dumped Joanna because they didnt feel her performance was good enough.
The brokenhearted youngster and her parents, Joseph and Stella Pacitti, who live in suburban Philadelphia, sued Macys for $50 million for breach of contract.
They alleged that Macys made fraudulent claims concerning the auditions.
The case was thrown out of a Pennsylvania court, but later reinstated by an appeals court. It was set to go to a jury trial on June 6.
Macys and Joannas lawyer, Joseph Claffy, refused to comment on the reported settlement.
Gail Parenteau, a former publicist for Joanna, said she believed Macys had already spend close to a half-million dollars fighting the case.
At the time her lawsuit was filed, Joanna told The Post:
I want to continue to fight Macys so that no other child has to go through what I did and be so disappointed.
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