BROADWAY RECALL: Annie's At The Palace

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Welcome to BROADWAY RECALL, a bi-monthly column where BroadwayWorld.com's Chief Theatre Critic, Michael Dale, delves into the archives and explores the stories behind the well-known and the not so well-known videos and photographs of Broadway's past. Look for BROADWAY RECALL every other Saturday.

With a new production of Annie now previewing on Broadway, it looks like Gwen Verdon may have to relinquish her title as the most famous redhead to have played the Palace.

Kids are all over Broadway this season.  Not just in Annie, but in The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Once and Chaplin and soon Elf, Matilda and A Christmas Story.  While it’s a well known fact that actors have to learn to deal with rejection all the time, such rejection could be especially hard on a young hopeful.  Last year BroadwayWorld’s Erin Leigh Peck penned this fascinating article of how producer Arielle Tepper Madover worked at reinventing the casting process for finding Annie’s orphans, through video auditions that focused on giving the little girls a sense of accomplishment for their efforts.

Annie made a star out of Andrea McArdle, but unlike The King of Siam, Dolly Gallagher Levi and Henry Higgins, the title character is not exactly a role its originator can play many years later.  But recently, she’s been trying her hand at playing Miss Hannigan, a role she saw performed by the brilliant Dorothy Loudon hundreds of times.  Here she is two years ago in Musical Theatre West's production in Long Beach.

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.