LEAPIN’ LIZARDS BROADWAY FANS! It’s only 17 days away from Broadway’s biggest night of the year and we are waking you each morning with our Top 30 Tony Awards. Are you guys ready for more showtunes and incredible Tony performances?
Today at #17 on our countdown is a fan favorite and the musical that every little girl grows up dreaming of being in. We are of course talking about everyone’s favorite little red head orphan Annie The Musical. It was written by Charles Strouse (music), Martin Charnin (Lyrics), and Thomas Meehan (Book) and based on off Harold Gray’s comic strip LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE.
From the 1977 telecast, Andrea McArdle, the late Dorothy Loudon, and the original cast perform a medley of some of the show’s most beloved songs including TOMORROW, YOU’RE NEVER FULLY DRESSED WITHOUT A SMILE, EASY STREET, & a reprise of TOMORROW.
ANNIE originally premiered at Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut in 1976 before transferring to Broadway’s Alvin Theatre (currently the Neil Simon Theatre) in 1977 and later transferred to 3 other Broadway houses (The ANTA Playhouse (now the August Wilson Theatre), the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, and the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin Theatre)) during it’s run of 2,377 performances. It was nominated for 10 Tonys that year and won 7 including Best Musical) ANNIE was later revived twice.. The first revival happened in 1997 (in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the show) at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) for 253 performances. That first revival was nominated and lost it’s only Tony nomination that year as Best Revival of a Musical. The most recent revival in 2013 played Broadway’s Palace Theatre for 525 performances. It was nominated for 2 Tonys that year and also lost both it’s categories including Best Revival of a Musical playing 525 performances.
FUN FACT: ANNIE was known for having some casting drama of the lead role during both it’s original premiere and the first revival. Following the out of the town tryout in CT, Kristen Vigard was originally cast as Annie but was randomly fired before they hit NYC because the producers decided that her genuinely sweet interpretation was not tough enough for the street-smart orphan. Vigard was replaced by Andrea McArdle (who previously played one of Annie’s fellow Orphan friends Pepper) and critics were blown away and became an overnight sensation.
For the 20th Anniversary revival of ANNIE in 1997, the show originally did a pre-Broadway tour with Joanna Pacitti (who won the title role in a Macy’sAuditioning Contest). During a tour stop engagement in Boston (2 WEEKS BEFORE THEY HIT BROADWAY), she had a nasty case of bronchitis and…. got fired when she returned!!! She was replaced by Brittany Kissinger (who made history as the youngest girl to play Annie only at 8 years old). Kissinger previously appeared as an orphan and understudied Annie mainly on the tour. Within days of her dismissal, Joanna Pacittii’s firing made the headlines and everyone was all on her side. In addition, her family hired a lawyer and they sued the producers closer to $10-20 million.
Isn’t ANNIE such so popular? Who hear has kids that sing TOMORROW non stop?