How well do you know Annie the Musical? Let’s find out: what is the first name of “Daddy” Warbucks? What U.S. President appears as a character? What Sex and The City star once played “Annie” on Broadway? Here’s an easy one: what is the name of Annie’s dog?
Almost certainly you can provide some, if not all of the answers to the above questions. After all, Annie is one of the most popular musicals in the history of American theater. The New York Times once estimated that Annie gets produced about 800 times a year (by various theater companies and schools). Not only that, but if you asked someone to sing a Broadway song chances are pretty good they’d start belting out: “The sun'll come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun.”
Annie debuted in April of 1977 at what is now The Neil Simon Theatre. The production starred Andrea McArdle as Annie and Reid Shelton as Daddy Warbucks. The show ended its Broadway run on Jan. 2, 1983 after 2,377 performances. It was the longest running show at the Neil Simon Theatre until 2009 when it was surpassed by Hairspray. During its Broadway run, there were four Annie touring companies although one was a paired down production—what the industry calls a “bus and truck” show. Molly Ringwald and Alyssa Milano both played orphans in one of the Annie national tours.
The musical has been revived twice for Broadway—once in 1997, for the show’s 20th anniversary, and again in 2012 for the show’s 35th anniversary. The 1997 revival starred the great Nell Carter as Miss Hannigan. Some controversy arose when a commercial for the production showed a white actress portraying Miss Hannigan instead of Carter, a black woman. Carter wondered out loud, and to reporters, if producers wanted to hide the fact that Miss Hannigan was being played by someone who wasn’t white. The producers said it was too expensive to reshoot the commercial.
By the way, “Oliver” is Warbucks’ first name; Franklin Roosevelt is a character in Annie (and he saves the day); “Carrie Bradshaw” herself, Sarah Jessica Parker. played Annie on Broadway; and the name of Annie’s dog is “Sandy.”