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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

Zamedy154
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joined:6/26/16
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#1
Posted: 11/27/20 at 9:56am

So this show fits into two categories for me right now:

-SHOWS YOU'RE CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH

-OPENING NIGHT YOU'D LOVE TO GO BACK TO SEE

I've always enjoyed Annie but never been 'blown away' by any of the touring productions I've seen. And then you watch that glorious 10-minute performance from the Tonys and you can't help but smile from ear to ear the entire time. You instantly get why the original was such a hit and spawned revival after revival and touring production after touring production. Everything was perfect - perfect cast, a GREAT score that still holds up despite a book that takes place during the Great Depression. Dorothy Loudon, Andrea McArdle, Reid Shelton, Laurie Beechman, Robert Fitch, every original orphan, 

If you saw the original Broadway cast, color me jealous.

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Mr Roxy
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#2
Posted: 11/27/20 at 11:15am
Consider yourself jealous
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BrodyFosse123
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#3
Posted: 11/27/20 at 11:25am

Saw it a month after it opened. Lucky my folks bought tickets right when previews started as the show exploded weeks later and it would have been impossible to get tickets. The show opened with the same fanfare HAMILTON and Mel Brooks’ THE PRODUCERS and even HAIRSPRAY. The lines for tickets were insane. No lotteries or rush tickets existed then so those lines were mostly for cancellation tickets.

To me what blew me away then (I was 12) was the staging: all the scene changes were cinematic - when the orphanage scene transitioned to the next scene, the beds would slide off (via a treadmill), the pipes and walls would fly up and the next scene’s set would glide on: walls, doorways, windows, full props. No minimal stylized nonsense.

Sadly, the show has since become a “kiddie” show (it was not during its original Broadway run), and the song “Tomorrow” exhausted itself to the jokey overkill kid song it is today. Back in 1977, the show was treated as another major musical on Broadway, hence all the Tony Awards it won, etc.

ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

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Smaxie
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joined:9/26/05
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#4
Posted: 11/27/20 at 11:35am
The original production has never been bettered and it must be difficult for those who didn't see it, or young people who think it is all sticky cutesy sentimentality to understand why the show worked so well. Part of it was the timing.

Never intended as a kiddie show, the original authors wrote it as a response to the cynicism of politics post-Watergate. It had a sophistication to it that was unexpected and appealed to all audiences. It also delivered the pleasures of an old-fashioned musical, but with a polish and slickness that was up to date.

The original cast was indeed lightning in a bottle, but there were also superb replacements over the length of the run.

The physical production, especially David Mitchell's set, were state-of-the-art. The sets just magically danced and glided into place, and I can remember some of those scenic transitions better than from shows I saw last year. (Paging Someone In A Tree?)

I think perhaps the thing that the original production had that has been absent from all other productions is Mike Nichols. Even when the show was working like gangbusters pre-Broadway in Washington, D.C., he pushed them to go further. All told, that original production was one for the ages. A perfect experience.
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
Owen22
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#5
Posted: 11/27/20 at 11:36am
I saw the Alice Ghostley, Shelly Bruce cast immediately after the original left. And it was still glorious. I try to remember what it was that I loved so much about this show. I was young but there were other shows that were probably better (at least in my mind now) in that week of shows on my first trip to New York City. But Annie was a complete stand out.
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uncageg
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#6
Posted: 11/27/20 at 11:41am

I saw the original production. Went to a Wednesday matinee and Dorothy Loudon was out. I now suspect she wasn't doing the Wednesday matinees. I was not happy as I had gotten the tickets well in advance. But when the show was over I had pretty much forgotten that she wasn't in. I was excited to see  the kids do "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" and they were great. So glad I saw it.

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Mr Roxy
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#7
Posted: 11/27/20 at 11:46am
Sad Annie Warbucks never made it to Broadway. Great show great score. A missed opportunity
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Zamedy154
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joined:6/26/16
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#8
Posted: 11/27/20 at 12:09pm

Great pic! Thanks for sharing. 

Good point about it now being 'a kid show.' Just judging from the Tony clip, it seemed much more like an 'event' and never had the feel of 'a kid show.' It was Broadway at its best.

I recently watched a clip of the troubled '97 showing Nell Carter in 'Easy Street.' As strong and veteran a performer Carter was, her 'Easy Street' (with her Rooster and Lily) weren't even in the same hemisphere.

Side note - I recently learned the original Lily St. Regis (the late Barbara Erwin) was in A League of Their Own.

Updated On: 11/27/20 at 12:09 PM
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morosco
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#9
Posted: 11/27/20 at 12:39pm
The show never seems to work without an incredibly talented and skilled comic actress playing Hannigan. That role balances the whole show.

I agree that David Mitchell's sets were amazing.

The original production, especially during the early years of the run, was sublime.
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dramamama611
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#10
Posted: 11/27/20 at 12:43pm
I remember listening to the recording often as a young teen....but by the time I ever saw an actual production of it (not professional) it was already in the kiddie show realm - which I also think the film banked on. So, needless to say, thats the way I think of it.

So....I'm actually quite intrigued to hear the opinions that it WASN'T always that way. Can anyone speak (that saw the original) speak to the tone of either revivals?
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Mr Roxy
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#11
Posted: 11/27/20 at 3:07pm
Get the 30 th anniversary production CD. Songs from Annie 2 and bonus tracks plus original score performed by all star cast. Well worth it
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BdwyFan
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#12
Posted: 11/27/20 at 4:40pm
I got to see Sarah Jessica Parker.
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BrodyFosse123
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#13
Posted: 11/27/20 at 6:19pm

BdwyFan said: "I got to see Sarah Jessica Parker. "

Saw her as orphan July a couple of times (she was part of the first replacement cycle) then as Annie on my 14th birthday in March 1979.  She was 2nd Annie: Shelley Bruce’s understudy while she was playing July before getting promoted to Annie.  During her entire 10 month run as Annie she knew they were looking for her replacement so she would see a parade of little girls auditioning to replace her.  Allison Smith replaced her in January 1980.he 

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joevitus
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#14
Posted: 11/27/20 at 7:15pm

Was she not well-received? It seems so quick to replace her.

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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#15
Posted: 11/27/20 at 7:23pm

If I remember correctly from the Life After Tomorrow documentary, Sarah Jessica Parker grew out of the part fairly quickly after assuming the role. She was, after all, only about two weeks shy of her 15th birthday when she took over the role full time in 1979.

Also, from everything I've seen and heard about the original production I would say it was pretty clear that Mike Nichols had a heavy hand in guiding it, as Smaxie mentioned, despite the insistence to the contrary by some of the original team. I mean, it's pretty telling that Martin Charnin was never able to recreate what made the original production so lauded with the 1997 revival nor any of the tours that were sent out subsequently under his direction, so it's fairly clear that Nichols was a major ingredient in the original production's success.

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joevitus
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#16
Posted: 11/27/20 at 7:27pm

Not sure I agree with the "it wasn't a kids show" line I'm reading here about the original production. Of course, I'm also not sure what that means. It may relate to the feel created by casting Andrea McArdle, who was I think 14 when she started, rather than someone 10 or 11 in the lead. Maybe it means that the show was more professionally run than later productions, and the cast never got sloppy or lazy. But it was never a sophisticated show in terms of characterization or even song-integration, and the adults in the cast pretty much conform to a kid's idea of good and bad grown-ups. The kids are all innocents. Sounds like a kids show to me.

I know Charles Strouse initially rejected the idea of the show because he'd already done It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman, which largely flopped through public perception that it was a kid's show. I'd say that show was much more an adult show (meaning: knowing, winking at the Pop concept of comic books) than Annie ever was, which basically never got "cute" with the idea that it came from a comic strip, beyond one line of Miss Hannigan's. 

None of this is a put-down of Annie, which has a dynamite score, a pretty decent (if too lengthy) script, and at the end of the day, just plain works.

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BrodyFosse123
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#17
Posted: 11/27/20 at 7:29pm

joevitus said: "Was she not well-received? It seems so quick to replace her."

She was growing quickly so from the moment she was told she would be the next Annie they also informed her that her run wouldn’t be too long as she was growing.  She knew what was up from the get-go.  A 10 month run as Annie is pretty damn good plus she didn’t take it personal seeing the girls auditioning so she knew to enjoy her run while it lasted.  

 

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joevitus
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#18
Posted: 11/27/20 at 8:03pm
Thanks!
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#19
Posted: 11/27/20 at 8:31pm

Annie was my first Broadway show. I was on cloud 9 the entire time. I was absolutely fascinated with David Mitchell's scenic design and how it moved. I saw the show a month before Andrea McArdle left. I also saw it twice with Sarah Jessica Parker as Annie. I had a photo of the 2 of us but for some reason I misplaced it a few years ago. Annie is the only show I saw on the West End (I still have my souvenir program from 1980.

I really wanted to see the closing performance at the Uris, but that was not meant to be.

Every subsequent production of Annie I have seen has paled in comparison to the original. I saw the last tour that came through DC and left during intermission. I doubt I'll ever venture to see a production of this show again. 

Since the show played in 4 different theatre's, does anyone know if any of the scenic elements changed as a result?

Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
Updated On: 11/27/20 at 08:31 PM
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DottieD'Luscia
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#19
Posted: 11/27/20 at 8:31pm

Duplicate post

 

Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
Updated On: 11/27/20 at 08:31 PM
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bwayphreak234
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#20
Posted: 11/28/20 at 8:13am

The original Broadway production was long before my time on this planet. However, I have always enjoyed this show. I absolutely loved the 2012 Broadway revival at the Palace. I loved the darker tone and approach.

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theatreguy12
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#21
Posted: 11/28/20 at 3:53pm
AM had such great stage presence and an amazing voice. Still really good last I heard. Why hasn’t she done more in recent years, especially considering last time I saw her interviewed she really does want to do Broadway again.
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joevitus
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#22
Posted: 11/28/20 at 6:10pm

I've never understood this myself. I suggested she'd make a good Rose, but was told she's considered pretty lightweight as an actress. Well, okay, but then how about an Anything Goes revival?

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BrodyFosse123
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#23
Posted: 11/28/20 at 6:58pm
I believe she has a reputation for being difficult, which doesn’t work in her favor as she’s not at the level that producers will overlook like they will for a big box office name. I’m sure her agents get the “we’re not interested in seeing her” dismissal.
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morosco
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ANNIE (1977 Original Broadway Cast)

#24
Posted: 11/28/20 at 7:42pm
I suggested she'd make a good Rose



In 2004 McArdle did play Rose in a terribly ill conceived production of GYPSY in Houston. There used to be a clip of it on YouTube but it has long since been deleted. It was the only production of Gypsy that I have ever seen that deployed tuxedoed backup boy dancers during her Rose's Turn.



Yeah... cringeworthy.