Annie: all-new production to shine in 2012

Producer Arielle Tepper Madover has announced that Tony Award-winner James Lapine will direct the new production of the 1977 Tony Award-winning musical Annie. The production will open in fall, 2012 at a Nederlander theatre to be announced.

James Lapine is the winner of three Tony Awards; five Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize with Stephen Sondheim for 'Sunday in the Park with George.' Broadway credits as a director include: 'Golden Child,' 'The Diary of Anne Frank,' 'Amour,' 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.' Off-Broadway writing credits include: 'Table Settings,' 'Twelve Dreams,' 'Luck, Pluck, and Virtue,' 'The Moment When,' and 'Fran's Bed.' He is currently working on the new musical 'Little Miss Sunshine.'

He was most recently represented on Broadway with 'Sondheim on Sondheim,' which he conceived and directed. His Broadway credits as a book writer and director include: 'Sunday in the Park with George,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Passion,' 'Falsettos,' (book with William Finn), 'Dirty Blonde' (by Claudia Shear and conceived with her).

Annie features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan, based on the newspaper character "Little Orphan Annie" by Harold Gray.

The musical tells the story of Orphan Annie, a girl whose optimism knows no bounds. Annie lives in an orphanage looked after by the cruel Miss Hannigan, but her life changes when she is selected to spend time in the house of wealthy industrialist Oliver Warbucks.

The score for Annie includes "Maybe," "It's the Hard Knock Life," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," "Easy Street," "I Don't Need Anything But You" and the eternal anthem of optimism, "Tomorrow".

The musical was a hit when it premiered on Broadway in 1977, winning seven Tony Awards and running for six years playing 2,377 performances, however its 1997 revival was not so successful, receiving negative reviews and closing after only seven months. Both Broadway productions were directed by Martin Charnin.

It is hoped that the 2012 revival will fare better, and to that aim Thomas Meehan is working on revising the book. Madover told the New York Times (NYT), "The script has never been touched since 1977, and our hope is to really make this revival for current audiences, so Tom is going to go to work on the book."

The original production of Annie opened 21 Apr 1977 at the Alvin Theatre, and starred Andrea McArdle as 'Annie,' Dorothy Loudon as 'Miss Hannigan' and Reid Shelton as 'Oliver Warbucks.'

Annie was revived on Broadway in 1997, starring Brittny Kissinger as 'Annie,' Nell Carter as 'Miss Hannigan' and 'Conrad John Schuck' as 'Oliver Warbucks.'.

Annie launched five national US companies and dozens of international productions, including two successful West End productions. The musical has been filmed twice, for motion pictures in 1982 and for television in 1999. 20th and 30th Anniversary productions have toured the country.

Theatre, creative team and cast for Annie will be announced at a later date.

James LaPine

Originally published on

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