Annie: Lilla Crawford to play title role

Eleven-year-old Lilla Crawford will play the title role in the upcoming Broadway revival of the 1977 Tony Award-winning musical Annie. The production will open in the Fall 2012 at a Nederlander theatre to be announced.

Crawford, who made her Broadway debut in 2011, playing 'Debbie' in the closing cast of 'Billy Elliot' on Broadway, was slected following a multi-city coast-to-coast search that spanned nine months and over 5,000 auditions.

On hearing the news that she had been choosing for the part Lilla Crawford said, "Oh, my gosh, it happened! My heart just stopped. I thought it would be so cool just to be a part of Annie, but to actually be playing Annie is a dream come true!"

Lead producer Arielle Tepper Madover said, "We fell in love with Lilla from the moment we saw her. When she is in the room you can't take your eyes off her. She has a gorgeous voice, is a terrific actress, wonderful dancer and a sweet girl. She is everything that we could have ever hoped for in an Annie. We are so happy to have met her and think everyone will fall in love with her the way we did."

The production will be directed by three-time Tony Award winner James Lapine ('The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,' 'Passion,' 'Falsettos') and choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights).

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 team includes scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Brian Ronan.

The musical will be produced on Broadway by Arielle Tepper Madover, Roger Horchow, Sally Horchow, Roger Berlind, Roy Furman, Debbie Bisno, Stacey Mindich, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Daryl Roth/Jane Bergère and Eva Price/Christina Papagjika.

Annie 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 has worked 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."

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.

Lilla Crawford

Originally published on

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