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Martin Charnin, Lyricist and Director Best Known For ANNIE, Dies at 84

Martin Charnin, Lyricist and Director Best Known For ANNIE, Dies  at 84

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report the passing of Martin Charnin, Broadway lyricist and director. The news was reported on Facebook, by Charnin's daughter, Sasha. Charnin was 84.

Martin Charnin is perhaps best known for conceiving, directing, and writing the lyrics for the hit Broadway musical Annie.

Charnin began his career as an actor, playing the role of "Big Deal" in the original production of West Side Story, both on Broadway and on tour.

He then began writing music and lyrics for Off-Broadway and cabaret revues, as well as nightclub performances for the likes of Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson, Leslie Uggams, and more.

His first time writing lyrics for a Broadway musical was Hot Spot in 1963, which starred Judy Holliday.

In the 1970s, Charnin worked in television where he conceived, produced, wrote, and directed, six variety specials. He won an Emmy in 1971 for his work on "Annie, The Woman in the Life of a Man." He won two primetime Emmy Awards the following year for "S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, S'Gershwin."

Charnin's Broadway directing debut was in 1973, when he conceived and directed the revue Nash at Nine.

Annie premiered at the Goodspeed Opera House in 1976. Charnin is credited as creator, lyricist, and director of the show, which then transferred to Broadway for 2,327 performances. He won the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Lyrics, as well as the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

Charnin went on to direct many U.S. companies of Annie, as well as West End productions, and productions in Australia and Amsterdam. He also directed the 20th anniversary production on Broadway, the 30th anniversary production which toured the U.S. in 2004, and the 2014 national tour.

Following the success of Annie, Charnin wrote lyrics for, and directed, a wide variety of shows and revues on Broadway. For a full list of Charnin's credits, view his page on BroadwayWorld here.

Charnin was artistic director of Showtunes!, a theatre company in Seattle, Washington, that resurrects lesser-known musicals, and celebrates the work of composers such as Richard Rodgers and Irving Berlin.

Charnin is survived by his wife, Shelly Burch, two children, Randy Charnin and Sasha Charnin Morrison, and three grandchildren, Maxwell Charnin and Gus and Oliver Morrison.

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