Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The musical ran for nearly six years on Broadway, setting a record for the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre). It spawned numerous productions in many countries, as well as national tours, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical's songs "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard-Knock Life" are its more popular pieces.
It is 1933 and eleven-year-old Annie is in the Municipal Girls Orphanage, along with Molly, who is six, Kate, who is seven, Tessie, who is ten, July, who is twelve, Pepper, who is twelve and Duffy, who is thirteen. When Molly awakes from a bad dream at 3:00AM, Annie comforts her. Molly then asks her to read the note her parents gave her in 1922, when she was left at the doorstep of the orphanage. The note says that her parents will come pick her up, so Annie is always hopeful that they are still out there ("Maybe").
Annie decides to escape to find her parents, but is caught by the orphanage supervisor Miss Hannigan, who is currently suffering from a hangover. Miss Hannigan is angered by this and forces all the girls to vigorously clean the orphanage ("It's the Hard Knock Life"). Shortly after, Mr Bundles, the laundry man, comes in to pick up the blankets. While Miss Hannigan is flirting with him, Annie climbs into the laundry basket and the orphans cover her up with blankets. Once Miss Hannigan realizes Annie is gone, the other orphans express their frustration ("It's the Hard Knock Life Reprise").
Annie successfully escapes, running into a friendly stray dog. As she comforts him, she tells him of better days yet to come ("Tomorrow"). The dog catcher is after him, so Annie pretends he is hers by calling him Sandy. Though at first unsuccessful, he is convinced, and she continues. She later finds a Hooverville, where people made homeless by the Great Depression have come together as a community ("We'd Like To Thank You, Herbert Hoover"). However, a cop sent by Hannigan catches her and brings her back.
Grace Farrell, assistant to the billionaire Oliver Warbucks, comes to the orphanage asking for an orphan to come to his house for the Christmas holiday. Because Annie was in Miss Hannigan's office, Grace asks to take Annie, and Hannigan reluctantly agrees. Once Grace has left, Miss Hannigan explodes with her hatred for all the girls in the orphanage ("Little Girls").
Meanwhile, at the Warbucks Mansion, the servants and staff welcome Annie with open arms ("I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here"). When Oliver Warbucks comes back though, he is very moody and not too happy to have an orphan in his house. He asks Grace to take Annie to a movie, but she persuades him to come. As Annie and Warbucks begin to like each other, they enjoy a fabulous night in New York City ("NYC").
Back at the orphanage, Miss Hannigan's brother, Rooster, and his floozy girlfriend, Lily St. Regis, pay a visit. Miss Hannigan mentions that Annie is staying at a billionaire's house, and Rooster and Lily think they could use this situation to get rich, though they don't yet know how ("Easy Street").
Warbucks sees the locket around Annie's neck, and buys her a new one from Tiffany & Co.. However, Annie bursts into tears saying it was the only thing left by her parents, and refuses to accept a new one. Grace and the Warbucks' staff then pledge to find Annie's parents no matter what it takes ("You Won't be an Orphan For Long").
Annie soon appears on the radio, on a show by Bert Healy, singing Maybe. On the show, Warbucks announces that he is offering 50,000 dollars to the couple that proves to be her parents. Healy then sings a song for everyone with the Boylan sisters ("You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile"). The girls in the orphanage happen to be listening, and decide to have fun and dance around and sing the song they've just heard ("Fully Dressed Children"). When Miss Hannigan hears, she barges in and demands to know what was happening. Molly announces that Annie was on the radio, and that there is a $50,000 reward for her parents. Miss Hannigan is anything but pleased. Shortly after, a couple named Ralph and Shirley Mudge come in, saying they left a little girl here eleven years ago and have come back for her. Miss Hannigan is shocked. The Mudges soon reveal themselves to be Rooster and Lily, and explain their plan for the reward. They request information about Annie from Miss Hannigan for one third of the dough, though she demands one half for this service, and tells them about the note and the locket. They develop the complete plan then ("Easy Street Reprise").
Back at the mansion, hundreds of couples are showing up, though all are confirmed to be fakes by Grace, because none knew about the locket. Warbucks brings Annie to Washington D.C. where she requests to meet the president. F. D. R. asks her to stay, and she begins to sing Tomorrow, though shushed by the cabinet. Roosevelt however, believes that people must be optimistic during tough times, and commands his cabinet to sing ("Cabinet Tomorrow"). Once back at the mansion, Warbucks tells Annie how much he loves her ("Something Was Missing"). Because Annie's parents have not showed up, Warbucks announces he would like to adopt Annie ("I Don't Need Anything But You"). They decide to throw a Christmas party, and Annie wants to invite Miss Hannigan and the orphans. While preparing, the delighted staff tell of how Annie's arrival has changed their lives ("Annie").
However, Mr and Mrs Mudge (Rooster and Lily in disguise) show up to pick up Annie. Grace and Oliver are shocked, because they know about the note and the locket. Still, Warbucks doesn't think they are Annie's real parents. Warbucks requests that Annie be allowed to stay one more night for the Christmas party, and then be taken away to their supposed Pig Farm in New Jersey. Early that morning, she wishes she could have been adopted, and not sent off with her "parents" ("Tomorrow Reprise"). However, it is revealed by F. D. R, who shows up, that her parents are actually Margaret and David Bennett, and died when she was a baby. They then figure out that Mr and Mrs Mudge are really Rooster and Lily just as they show up to claim Annie and the money. They, along with Miss Hannigan, are arrested by the Secret Service, and everyone is delighted by F. D. R.'s new deal for the economy ("New Deal for Christmas").
Characters - Description
Annie - An eleven-year-old redheaded girl, optimistic and "spunky", seeking her parents
Miss Hannigan - The unpleasant orphanage matron, disillusioned, she hates children, but is fond of alcoholic beverages
Daddy Oliver Warbucks - Billionaire businessman who opens his home – and heart – to Annie
Grace Farrell - Warbucks' faithful secretary, who loves Annie from the start
Rooster - Miss Hannigan's no-good brother, out for the quick buck
Lily St. Regis - Rooster's girlfriend, is smarter than she appears
Molly, Pepper, Duffy, July, Tessie, and Kate - The orphans at the orphanage, ages 6 to 13
Franklin D. Roosevelt - President of the United States, he aids Warbucks in the search for Annie's parents
Bert Healy - Radio announcer who agrees to broadcast Annie's search for her parents
The Boylan sisters Singers on the Bert Healy Show and hope to be famous someday
Sandy An abandoned mixed–breed dog that Annie rescues who becomes her faithful companion
The original Broadway production opened at the Alvin Theatre on April 21, 1977 and starred Andrea McArdle as Annie, Reid Shelton as Daddy Warbucks, Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan, and Sandy Faison as Grace Farrell. Danielle Brisebois was one of the orphans. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won 7, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. Replacements in the title role on Broadway included then-child actors Shelly Bruce, Sarah Jessica Parker, Allison Smith and Alyson Kirk. Replacements in the role of Miss Hannigan included Alice Ghostly, Dolores Wilson, Betty Hutton, Marcia Lewis, and June Havoc.
The show closed on January 2, 1983 and ran for a total of 2,377 performances, setting a record for the longest running show at the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre), until it was surpassed by Hairspray in 2009.
During the Broadway run of Annie, there were four touring companies that were launched from the original production to bring the show to major U.S. cities:
The 1st National Touring Company of Annie opened in Toronto in March 1978 with Kathy-Jo Kelly in the title role, Norwood Smith as Daddy Warbucks, Jane Connell as Miss Hannigan and future Broadway star Gary Beach as Rooster. It played in Miami from April 12 to May 13, 1978 then continued for a few more cities until it landed in Chicago where it played for 32 weeks. In April of 1979, it continued on the road in with Mary K. Lombardi now in the lead as Annie. In the fall of 1980, Theda Stemler took over the part and was replaced in Boston when she grew too old. On May 15, 1981, Louanne Sirota, who had played Annie in the long-running Los Angeles production (see below), took over the role for four months. In August 1981, Becky Snyder became the company's last Annie, closing the tour on September 6, 1981.
The 2nd National Touring Company (sometimes referred to as the West Coast or Los Angeles Production) opened in San Francisco on June 22, 1978 with Patricia Ann Patts starring as Annie and the then-unknown Molly Ringwald playing one of the orphans. The show landed in Los Angeles on October 15, 1978 for an open-ended run at the Shubert Theatre. On June 12, 1979, Louanne, just 9 yrs old (up until that time, all Annies had been 11 yrs old), took over the role from Patts. Marisa Morell replaced Louanne when she left to star in Oh, God! Book II in December 1979. Marisa closed the Los Angeles run and took it on the road continuing with the show through December 1980. In December 1980, Kristi Coombs replaced Morell and played Annie until this touring company closed in Philadelphia on January 23, 1982.
The 3rd National Touring Company of Annie was launched in Dallas on October 3, 1979 with Roseanne Sorrentino in the title role. This company toured to 23 cities playing mostly shorter runs of a month or less. On March 27, 1981, Bridget Walsh took over for Sorrentino. Becky Snyder (who had closed the 1st National Tour) joined this company in the summer of 1982 and stayed with it until it closed in September of that year.
The 4th National Touring Company of Annie opened on September 11, 1981 with Mollie Hall playing Annie. This production was a "bus and truck" tour, with a slightly reduced cast, that traveled the country often playing in two cities a week. This company was still touring when the original Broadway production closed in January 1983, making Kathleen Sisk the final performer to play Annie from the original production team. This final production closed in September 1983.
In 1978, a London cast of Annie opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre, in the West End of London, on May 3. Though Andrea McArdle played the title role for 40 performances, British 12-year-old Ann Marie Gwatkin was also cast in the title role and appeared on the Original London cast recording. Miss Hannigan was played by Sheila Hancock, and Daddy Warbucks was played by Stratford Johns (later by Charles West).
Annie closed on 28 November 1981, after 1485 performances, and immediately transferred to the Bristol Hippodrome for a special Christmas season before touring Britain. Because of strict British employment laws for juvenile actors, a succession of actresses took on the lead role every four months. One of the last girls to perform the role at the Victoria Palace before the show went on tour was 10-year old Claudia Bradley from Leeds who was featured on a 1981 BBC programme called Fame.
The show was later revived at the Victoria Palace, running from 30 September 1998 to 28 February 1999. It starred Lily Savage (the female alter ego of comedian Paul O'Grady) as Miss Hannigan. Further UK tours of the show were also staged, including a one-month run at The Theatre Royal in Lincoln in 2001. Members of the original cast included Annie's Kate Winney and Jemma Carlisle, Louise English (Grace), Vicki Michelle (Hannigan) and Simon Masterton-Smith (Warbucks). The show proved to be a success, and so for the first two tours and the Malaysian Genting Highlands Production, the role of Annie was then shared by Faye Spittlehouse and a young Lucy May Barker. This particular production toured from 2001-2007 and resumed in September 2008.
A 20th anniversary Broadway revival in 1997 entitled Annie, the 20th Anniversary starred Nell Carter, and later Sally Struthers, as Miss Hannigan, but controversy surrounded the casting of the titular character. The original actress cast in the role, Joanna Pacitti, was fired and replaced by her understudy, Brittny Kissinger (who usually played July) while battling bronchitis. Public sentiment seemed to side with Pacitti as she was the winner of a highly-publicized contest to find a new Annie sponsored by the department store Macy's. This incident, coupled with the mixed reviews the new staging garnered, doomed it to a short run, although it was followed by a successful national tour. The orphans on the pre-broadway national tour and during the Broadway run were played by Christiana Anbri, age 6, from Philadelphia, who played "Molly"; Melissa O'Malley, who played "Kate"; Lindsey Watkins, age 9, from New Haven, who played "Tessie"; Mackenzie Rosen-Stone, age 9, from Baltimore, who played "Duffy"; Casey Tuma, age ten, from New Jersey, replaced Kissinger as "July"; Cassidy Ladden, age eleven, from Manhattan, who played "Pepper"; and Alexandra Keisman as the orphan swing/Annie understudy. Kissinger, then 8, became the youngest actress to ever play Annie on Broadway.
More controversy surrounding the show involved Nell Carter. Carter reportedly was very upset when commercials promoting the show used a different actress, Marcia Lewis, a white actress, as Miss Hannigan. The producers claimed that the commercials, which were made during an earlier production, were too costly to reshoot. Carter felt that racism played a part in the decision. "Maybe they don't want audiences to know Nell Carter is black", she told the New York Post. However, the ads did mention that Carter was in the show. "It hurts a lot", Carter told the Post, "I've asked them nicely to stop it — it's insulting to me as a black woman." Carter was later replaced by another white actress, Sally Struthers.
Starting in August 1999, the post Broadway National Tour continued with Meredith Ann Bull as Annie, Melissa Rocko playing July, Gianna Belino playing Molly, Katherine Young playing Kate, Ashley Wieronski playing Duffy, and Nina Ducharme playing Tessie, and Tracey Brancifort playing Pepper. In the spring of 2000, a few new 'orphans' took over, and Ashley Wieronski moved up to play Annie, while Blaire Restaneo played Molly, Jessica Peters played Tessie, Amanda Shpigler played Kate, Amy Sheff played July, Tracey Brancifort played Pepper and Melissa Rocco moved on to play Duffy understudying Annie. Amelia Millar was the swing orphan.
In July 2000, Dana Benedict replaced Ashley Wieronski as Annie, Jewel Restaneo replaced Mellissa Rocco as Duffy. Daniella Alswang replaced Amanda Shpigler as Kate, Kallie Flynn Childress replaced Jessica Peters as Tessie, while Blaire Restaneo, Amy Sheff, and Tracey Brancifort remained as their roles of Molly, July, and Pepper.
Starting in 2005, a 30th anniversary traveling production of Annie by Networks Tours embarked on a multi-city tour. Due to its popularity, the tour has continued for over 5 years. This production is directed by Martin Charnin.
For the first year of the tour, Conrad John Schuck played Daddy Warbucks, Alene Robertson was Miss Hannigan and Annie was played by Marissa O'Donnell. Lindsay Ryan played Molly, Molly Ryan played Duffy and understudy of Molly. Stevani Weaver played Kate and understudy of Annie, Casey Whyland played Tessie, Taylor Bright played July, and Brittany Portman played Pepper. Throughout the show, there were a couple of replacements. Amanda Balon took the place of Lindsay Ryan as Molly, and McCall Montz took the place of Molly Ryan as Duffy and U.S. of Molly. Eventually, Jocelyn Chmielewski took the place of McCall Montz as Duffy and understudy of Molly, and Delaney Moro took the place of Stevani Weaver as Kate and understudy of Annie.
For the 2nd year of the tour, Annie was played by Marissa O'Donnell again, Amanda Balon moved up to the role of Duffy and understudy of Molly and second understudy of Annie, Anastasia Korbal played Molly, Gabi Nicole Carruba played Kate and understudy of Annie, Brandy Panfili played Tessie, NicKayla Tucker played July, and Madison Zavitz played Pepper.
This Equity Tour closed on March 25, 2007, at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, MD. Marissa O'Donnell turned down offers from United Kingdom tour producers to continue as Annie in their 2007 production.
The 2007-2008 cast included David Barton as Oliver Warbucks, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, Amanda Balon returning as Annie, Grace Etzkorn as Kate and Understudy Annie, Madison Zavitz returning as Pepper, Jaida-Iman Benjamin as July, Abby Spare as Tessie, Marina Macherone as Duffy, Annalisa DiBernardo as Molly, and the child wrangler/orphan swing was played by Sunny Naughton. In January of '08 Grace started playing Annie on the matinees and Sunny took over Kate on the matinees. Grace performed 45 shows in the role of Annie.
The 2008-09 cast for the tour featured Tianna Stevens as Annie, Ivy Moody as Pepper, Dominique Ross as July, Madison Kerth as Kate, Siara Padilla as Tessie, Mackenzie Aladjem as Molly and Sydney Richardson as Duffy. Early in 2009, Kerth replaced Stevens as Annie and Gracie Stover joined the cast as Kate.
In the 2009-10 tour, returning orphans, Madison Kerth (Annie), Ivy Moody (Pepper), and Mackenzie Aladjem (Molly), were joined by Laura Spineti as Duffy, Jordan Boezem as July, Emily Rudolph as Tessie and Roni Caggiano as Kate. Sidney Richardson (Tessie in 2008/09) filled in for Aladjem as Molly during the first few weeks of the tour.
Overture — Orchestra
Maybe — Annie & Orphans
It's the Hard Knock Life — Annie & Orphans
It's the Hard Knock Life (Reprise) — Orphans
Tomorrow — Annie
We'd Like To Thank You Herbert Hoover —Hooverville-ites
Little Girls — Miss Hannigan
Little Girls (Reprise) — Miss Hannigan
I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here — Grace, Annie & Servants
N.Y.C. — Warbucks, Grace, Annie, Star-to-Be, Chorus
Easy Street — Rooster, Miss Hannigan, Lily
You Won't Be an Orphan for Long - Annie & Warbucks
Maybe (Reprise) — Annie
Maybe (Reprise) — Annie
You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile — Bert Healy, Boylan Sisters
You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (Children) — Orphans
Easy Street (Reprise) — Rooster, Miss Hannigan, Lily
Tomorrow (Cabinet Reprise) — Annie, Roosevelt, Warbucks, Cabinet
Something Was Missing —Warbucks
I Don't Need Anything But You — Warbucks & Annie
Annie — Grace, Drake & Servants
Maybe (Reprise) — Annie
New Deal For Christmas — Warbucks & Servants