Annie The Musical
Adapted from Harold Gray’s popular comic strip, Annie the musical rocked Broadway when it opened in 1977. After six years and seven Tony awards, the show inspired a number of productions worldwide, in countries including Argentina, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Singapore. The show is still referenced in popular culture today, in films such as Austin Powers: Goldmember and Serial Mom, shows such as Saturday Night Live and really anywhere else you look. The New York Times estimates that Annie is produced 700 to 900 times each year in the United States, in high school, community productions and more. Maybe you have already heard these things, but:
You probably did not know that:
1) Emmy-winning actress Jane Lynch who plays coach Sue in Glee has made her Broadway debut as orphanage director Miss Hannigan in 2013, replacing lead Katie Finneran.
In fact, Annie has a history of using well-known stars. For example, one of the first actresses to play young Annie is none other than Sarah Jessica Parker! Also, the show’s 30th anniversary 2008 album features former cast members Carol Burnett, Sally Struthers, and Kathie Lee Gifford! Who would have known!? Tim Curry , Bernadette Peters, Kathy Bates, Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth have also been involved with the story in the past, but with the Columbia Pictures and Disney versions.
2) Nell Carter, star of the 80’s tv series “Gimme A Break”, also acted in the show – unfortunately for her. In promoting the show, producers used commercials featuring Marcia Lewis as Miss Hannigan instead of Nell Carter. As a proud black actress, Carter reportedly became outraged and went public with criticism of the situation. The producers denied race was a factor, saying rather that the commercials would be too costly to reshoot.
3) Though it didn’t make it to the mainstream, there is actually a sequel to Annie. Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge, opened at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in 1989. Horrible reviews and failed attempts to rework the script effectively prevented the show from reaching Broadway. In 1993, a similar production called “Annie Warbucks” opened Off Broadway at the Variety Arts Theatre, where it ran for 200 performances.
4) A documentary film called “Life After Tomorrow”, produced and directed by one of the actresses from the original Broadway production, brings together more than 40 actresses who played orphans in the show, and documents their experiences with show. The documentary premiered on Showtime and was released on DVD in 2008.
5) Another Annie-related production is due to be released on Christmas Day of 2014, starring actress Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie and Jamie Foxx as a reengineered Daddy Warbucks. It is unknown whether this will be a contemporary retelling of the musical or make use of original songs. In January 2013, Sony Pictures selected Will Gluck to direct the film.