Photo Flash: Leapin' Lizards! ANNIE Begins Previews Tonight - Meet the Cast
ANNIE features a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, with all three authors receiving 1977 Tony Awards for their work. ANNIE is directed by Pulitzer Prize and three-time Tony Award-winner James Lapine and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler.
ANNIE stars two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan, Australian star Anthony Warlow making his Broadway debut as Daddy Warbucks and 11-year-old Lilla Crawford as Annie, with Brynn O’Malley as Grace Farrell, Clarke Thorell as Rooster Hannigan and J. Elaine Marcos as Lily St. Regis. The Orphans are Madi Rae DiPietro as July, Georgi James as Pepper, Junah Jang as Tessie, Tyrah Skye Odoms as Kate, Taylor Richardson as Duffy, Emily Rosenfeld as Molly and Jaidyn Young as standby for the roles of Annie, Pepper, Duffy and July. The production also features Ashley Blanchet, Jane Blass, Jeremy Davis, Fred Inkley, Merwin Foard, Joel Hatch, Amanda Lea LaVergne, Gavin Lodge, Liz McCartney, Desi Oakley, Keven Quillon, David Rossetti, Sarah Solie, Dennis Stowe and Ryan VanDenBoom.
The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The show was one of the biggest Broadway musical hits of the 1970s, running for almost six years and playing 2,377 performances.
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 creative team includes scenic design by Drama Desk Award-winner David Korins, costume design by Tony Award-winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by two-time Tony Award-winner Donald Holder and sound design by Tony Award-winner Brian Ronan. Projection design is by Wendall K. Harrington. Music director is Todd Ellison. Orchestrations are by Michael Starobin. Dance music arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire. Musical coordinator is Patrick Vaccariello. Hair and wig design is by Tom Watson. Casting is by Telsey + Company. Animal training is by William Berloni.
ANNIE will be produced on Broadway by Arielle Tepper Madover, Roger Horchow, Sally Horchow, Roger Berlind, Roy Furman, Debbie Bisno, Stacey Mindich, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Jane Bergère/Daryl Roth and Eva Price/Christina Papagjika.
Katie Finneran (Miss Hannigan) received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in the recent Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, as well as Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in the Broadway revival of Noises Off. She was last seen on stage in the New York Philharmonic’s production of Company. Her previous Broadway credits include Mauritius, Cabaret, The Iceman Cometh, Neil Simon’s Proposals, The Heiress, In the Summer House, My Favorite Year, Two Shakespearean Actors and On Borrowed Time. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in Love, Loss, and What I Wore, You Never Can Tell, Pig Farm, Arms and the Man, Bosoms and Neglect, A Fair Country, Edith Stein and the Encores! pro duction of Li’l Abner. Finneran made her London debut in the West End production of Fuddy Meers. She has appeared regionally at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Ahmanson Theatre, and Hartford Stage. On television, Finneran starred this past season on Fox’s series “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.” Her previous television appearances include her roles on “The Inside,” “Wonderfalls,” “Bram and Alice,” “Frasier” and “Oz.” Her film appearances include Baby on Board, Broken Bridges, Firehouse Dog, Miss Congeniality 2, Bewitched, You’ve Got Mail, Liberty Heights, Night of the Living Dead and the recently released film version of the New York Philharmonic’s Company.
Anthony Warlow (Daddy Warbucks) is currently playing Daddy Warbucks in the critically acclaimed Australian production of ANNIE now playing at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre. That production, produced by John Frost, premiered in December, 2011 at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre. Warlow also played Warbucks in a previous revival of ANNIE in 2000. He made his music debut with the Australian Opera at the age of 19 in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Being awarded the Joan Sutherland Scholarship enabled him to further his career in opera, with roles in The Magic Flute, La Bohème, Tosca, Otello, The Tales of Hoffman (with Dame Joan Sutherland), Romeo and Juliet and Don Giovanni. Warlow’s musical theatre career began in 1985 with the London National Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls. He created the role of Enjolras in the Australian production of Les Miserables, a performance which won him a place on the Grammy Award-winning International Cast recording. Other productions include The Secret Garden, Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, Grease the Arena Spectacular, A Little Night Music and a healthy catalogue of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operas. His performance in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera (1990 and 2007-2009)set the seal on his status as Australia’s premier stage performer. He received the prestigious Advance Australia Award for Contribution to Music Theatre in 1991 for his performance, Gold and Platinum sales of his solo albums and in 1998 Anthony was honored by the nation and the National Trust being elected a Living National Treasure. His concert performances include sharing the stage with Australia’s Symphony Orchestras, as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011, he created the role of Dr.Yurii Zhivago in the Australian premiere production of Doctor Zhivago: THE MUSICAL, based on the Nobel Prize winning novel by Boris Pasternak, with a score by Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden). He was thrilled to be asked to help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera at London's Royal Albert Hall in October of last year. He makes his Broadway debut with this production of ANNIE.
Lilla Crawford (Annie) made her Broadway debut in 2011, playing Debbie in the closing cast of Billy Elliot on Broadway. She was featured in a workshop production of Craig Wright’s Melissa Arctic. She has also performed in 14 shows with YADA (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts) in her native Los Angeles.
Brynn O’Malley (Grace Farrell) Broadway credits include Wicked (Nessarose), SUNDAY IN THE Park with George (Celeste 1 & Elaine (original cast)), Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle), Beauty & the Beast (Belle u/s). Regional highlights include: Avenue Q (“Kate Monster/Lucy T. Slut” (original cast), Wynn Las Vegas); Boeing-Boeing, Oklahoma! and Meet Me In St. Louis (“Gabriella”, “Laurey” and “Esther” respectively, Paper Mill Playhouse); She Loves Me (“Amalia”, Arena Stage – Helen Hayes nomination); Arsenic and Old Lace (“Elaine”, Baltimore Centerstage); Into the Woods (“Baker’s Wife”, Kansas City Rep); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (“Christine”, North Shore Music Theatre); Into the Woods and Jekyll & Hyde (“Baker’s Wife” and “Emma” respectively, Pittsburgh CLO); Meet Me In St. Louis (“Esther”, St. Louis MUNY); The Full Monty and All Shook Up (“Pam Lukowski” and “Miss Sandra” respectively, Music Theatre of Wichita). Television: “The Big C,” “Royal Pains” and “A Gifted Man”. Concerts with the Naples, Baltimore and Ottawa Symphonies. BFA University of Michigan.
Clarke Thorell (Rooster Hannigan) most recently played the role of Gus Esmond in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for Encores! A San Diego native, Clarke made his Broadway debut in The Who’s Tommy, directed by Des McAnuff. He originated the roles of Corny Collins in the Broadway company of Hairspray and Jim Farrell in Titanic. He pinch-hit for John Pizzarelli at Radio City Music Hall in Sinatra: His Voice. His World. His Way, and last year stepped into the long-running Mamma Mia! as Harry Bright. Other credits include Orsino in Twelfth Night, directed by Jack O’Brien, Homer in Floyd Collins directed by Tina Landau, Satellites at The Public Theater, Sondheim’s Saturday Night, Wise Guys, directed by Sam Mendes, Lone Star Love & Catch Me If You Can. Film/TV: the newly released Men in Black III, “30 Rock” (Meet The Woggels), “NYC 2-2,” The Winning Season, with Sam Rockwell, “Kings,” “Rescue Me,” “Law & Order - SVU,” “Strong Medicine,” “Ed,” “Far East” and “The Sopranos.” Portraying Andy Williams, Mr. Thorell toured the globe with Liza Minnelli, recreating the 1948 nightclub act made famous by Kay Thompson & the Williams Brothers. As a vocalist, Mr. Thorell has performed with artists including ABBA, The Red Clay Ramblers, Dave Brubeck and Pete Townshend and is a proud member of Michael McElroy’s Broadway Inspirational Voices.
J. Elaine Marcos (Lily St. Regis) was most recently seen as Cynthia in the Broadway company of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Previous Broadway credits include A Chorus Line, The Wedding Singer, Sweet Charity, Wonderful Town, Flower Drum Song, Miss Saigon. Film credits include Morning Glory as Lisa Bartlett, Farm Girl in New York, Ana Smile (dir. Matthew Bonifacio) and featured in the documentary Every Little Step. Favorite TV credits include “I Just Want My Pants Back,” “30 Rock,” “Royal Pains,” “Rescue Me”.
Madi Rae DiPietro (July) is thrilled to be making her Broadway debut as July in ANNIE. Born and raised in San Diego, California, 12-year-old Madi Rae made her musical theater debut at the La Jolla Playhouse as a pageant girl in Little Miss Sunshine. She has also appeared in the Lyceum Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in their holiday production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. An accomplished dancer, Madi Rae has trained in ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical dance as well as in musical theatre and choreography. She made her television debut in the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” when she was six. Since then, she has been featured in numerous commercials for Disney Resorts, Legoland, Walmart and Hasbro Toys. When not performing, Madi Rae enjoys golf, swimming and skiing and is an aspiring artist.
Georgi James (Pepper) 11 years old, played the role of Debbie in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot and was also seen on Broadway in A Tale of Two Cities. She played Olive Hoover in the premiere of James Lapine and William Finn’s Little Miss Sunshine at La Jolla Playhouse. Recently, Georgi has been a proud part of the development of Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, a musical based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. She was also part of the award-winning Ensemble Cast who performed Horton Foote’s nine-act play The Orphans’ Home Cycle at both Hartford Stage and Signature Theatre Company. Georgi currently plays bass guitar at The School of Rock where she performs with their house band, playing Jersey Shore venues including the legendary Stone Pony. She is grateful to everyone at Telsey and Co., James Lapine, Mark Schneider, Arielle Tepper Madover and the entire creative team for this amazing opportunity. She sends love and thanks to her teachers Devin Ilaw, Steven Silverstein, Amelia DeMayo, ADA and Dance Molinari. Love and a big thank you to her family and agent Barry Kolker for always supporting her. Georgi’s mom played an orphan 30 years ago in Broadway’s National touring company of Annie and is so proud to be following in her footsteps.
Junah Jang (Tessie) is thrilled to make her Broadway debut at age nine. She has performed at youth theaters: Seussical THE MUSICAL (Jojo), Annie (Molly), The Sound of Music (Gretl), Schoolhouse Rock Live! (Shulie). Thanks to Jill, Bob, Trent, Melissa and friends for support.
Tyrah Skye Odoms (Kate) is thrilled to be making her Broadway debut playing Kate in ANNIE. The seven-year-old New Jersey native has performed with the Maple Shade Community Alliance Summer Theatre Program, the MSHS Performing Arts Department and the Bridge Players Theatre. Tyrah has even had the privilege of opening up for Diverse Pop Group! In addition to her stage experience, Tyrah has been featured in several print campaigns and runway shows, such as New York Fashion Week. She has previously studied ballet and jazz with the Marcia Hyland Dance Company. Tyrah would like to send her love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Tyree and the rest of her family and friends. Special thanks also go to the following people who have helped support Tyrah’s ambitions: Gina Amato, John Demchak, Katie McBurnie, Rose Young, Telsey & Company, Sabina (KRS) and Barry Kolker (Carson Org.).
Emily Rosenfeld (Molly) is thrilled to be making her Broadway debut as Molly in this production of ANNIE. She is an eight-year-old singer, actor and dancer who hails from Westchester, NY. Emily’s love affair with theater began when she stepped on the Star Kidz stage at the age of three. She continued performing at Random Farms Kids’ Theater; favorite roles include: Gretl in The Sound of Music, Dickon in The Secret Garden, Michael Darling in Peter Pan and Big Jule in Guys and Dolls. Emily recently appeared as Hendrika in the Off-Broadway Actor’s Fund benefit reading of Miracle on 34th Street, THE MUSICAL. She also sings with the Broadway Youth Ensemble and enjoys creating works of art and writing original plays and music in her spare time.
Taylor Richardson (Duffy, u/s Annie ) is excited to make her Broadway debut in ANNIE. She is from Richmond, VA where she loves to read and write stories. Her most recent regional credit is as “Susan Waverly” in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Taylor has been dancing since age 3 with Ann Catherine Cross School of Dance and has won multiple dance titles and awards across the region. She takes voice lessons with Cathy Motley-Fitch and plays piano and accordion.
Jaidyn Young (Standby for Annie, Pepper, Duffy, July) age 11, is ecstatic to be living a dream come true, making her Broadway debut in her very favorite show! Regional: Annie in Annie (Performance Riverside), Marta in The Sound of Music (3D Theatricals), Child Soloist at age 7 for Glory of Christmas (Crystal Cathedral), also in the National Merit film Voice in Silence as the lead role Abby.
Ashley Blanchet (Ensemble) Broadway: Memphis (Felicia u/s, Ensemble). Regional: Audrey, Little Shop of Horrors (Kansas City Rep); Rosalia, West Side Story (Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera); A Chorus Line (Marriott Lincolnshire Chicago); Meet Me In St Louis, The Music Man (the MUNY); Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie (West Virginia Public Theatre). BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan where she also received the 2009 Kurt Weill Award for Excellence in Theatre.
Jane Blass (Ensemble) Favorite credits: Prudy/Female Authority Figure in the first national tour of Hairspray; Mazeppa in Gypsy with Patti LuPone Ravinia (Chicago), Margaret/Violet u/s in the first national tour of 9 to 5. New York: Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven (Edna) at Playwright’s Theater of New Jersey, Ellie in Glimpses of the Moon at the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room; Widow Corney in Oliver!, John Engeman Theater; Woman 1 in Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden. Tours: Scrooge with Richard Chamberlain; Side by Side by Sondheim, the Middle-East; and the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. World premieres: Winesburg, Ohio (at Steppenwolf) and Pulp, both with About Face Theatre; Blissfield and God and Country (“Creon”) at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater; and Muscle (by James Lapine, William Finn and Ellen Fitzhugh) at Pegasus Players. You may have killed her in Grand Theft Auto 4. Founding member of the Sweat Girls (www.sweatgirls.org) and a proud member of Actor’s Equity.
Jeremy Davis (Ensemble) is thrilled to be a part of ANNIE! Other Broadway shows include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, South Pacific, 9 to 5, Billy Elliot, The People in the Picture and Ghost. He’s toured the country with The Who’s Tommy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and South Pacific. Other shows include Babes in Arms and George M! at Goodspeed, and Red Hot and Blue and A Wonderful Life at Paper Mill (both choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler). He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has been an Actor’s Equity Association member since 1998.
Merwin Foard (Ensemble) was most recently the stand-by for the role of Gomez Addams in the Original Broadway Cast of The Addams Family. Previous Broadway credits include Disney’s The Little Mermaid (original cast recording); Sweeney Todd; La Cage aux Folles; the acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins (revival cast recording); Trevor Nunn and Susan Stroman’s revival of Oklahoma!; Kiss Me, Kate; Jekyll and Hyde; 1776 (revival cast recording); Disney's Beauty and the Beast (original cast recording); Les Miserables, Mame and Show Boat. Hear him as Ebenezer Scrooge on the symphonic recording of A Christmas Carol – The Concert, available at Amazon and iTunes. In his spare “business” time, he has the pleasure of being one in a short list of Broadway artists who perform with symphony orchestras around the world. Disney films include Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The King of Thieves, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Home on the Range, Enchanted and Tangled. Merwin is one of three actors featured in the documentary film The Standbys that had its critically acclaimed world premiere as the first film of the 2012 Tony Awards’ Film Series. Married to actress Rebecca Baxter for 22 years, they share their life in Westchester County with their two daughters Phoebe and Bailey.
Joel Hatch (Ensemble) Broadway: Billy Elliot. Off-Broadway: Sound Of Music at Carnegie Hall, Adding Machine: THE MUSICAL (OBIE and Lucille Lortel Awards), Annie Warbucks. National Tours: Show Boat, Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast, Regional: House and Garden, Pericles, Oedipus Complex at the Goodman Theatre, Cymbeline, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor at Chicago Shakespeare, Another Part Of The Forest, Our Town, Benefactors at Writers Theatre, Inherit the Wind at Indiana Rep. and My Fair Lady at Asolo Rep. Joel had the reoccurring role of Dr Holt in last season's “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO.
Fred Inkley (Ensemble) Broadway: The Addams Family (Ancestor, Lurch, Mal Beineke); Company at Lincoln Center (Vocal Minority); A Tale Of Two Cities (Stryver); The Boys From Syracuse (The Sergeant); Les Miserables (Jean Valjean '95 and '98) Tour: Beauty and the Beast (Beast - Chicago's "Jeff Award" and Washington D.C.'s "Helen Hayes Award" nominations); Les Miserables (Jean Valjean - nominated for "Jeff Award") Regional: Les Miserables (North Shore Music Theater and Pittsburg CLO - Jean Valjean); Beauty And The Beast (Reagle Theater - Beast); Disney's High School Musical (North Shore Music Theater - Coach Bolton); Jekyll and Hyde (The Ritz Theater - Jekyll and Hyde); American Premiere and original cast recording of The Three Musketeers (Porthos); Mame (Harrah's Lake Tahoe - Older Patrick) with the late Juliet Prowse. Workshops/Readings: Take Flight workshop/reading; Kristina (Fredrik Mattsen) Broadway workshop; Of Thee I Sing (Encores); Show Boat (Carnegie Hall). In addition, Fred has appeared across the country with various symphonies as a concert soloist and has also had the privilege of performing with Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops for four summers at the Hyannis Pops by the Sea. Fred, a proud member of Actor's Equity, is thrilled to be joining the cast of ANNIE.
Amanda Lea LaVergne (Ensemble) Broadway: Grease (ChaCha DeGregorio; u/s Sandy/Patty), The People in the Picture. Regional/National Tours: Bring It On: THE MUSICAL (Campbell), Singin’ in the Rain (Kathy Selden), Chicago (Roxie), Gypsy (June), Shout! (Red), All Shook Up (Natalie/Ed), Lone Star Love (Ruby), Anything Goes (Hope), 42nd Street (Moscow), Radio City, Disney’s High School Musical, Hairspray and Crazy for You.
Gavin Lodge (Ensemble) This Coloradan is thrilled and grateful to be part of this historic revival. Broadway: Priscilla …, Spamalot, 42nd Street. Regional roles: Jerry in The Full Monty, Harold Hill in The Music Man and Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. His love of performing is matched by his passion for campaign finance reform...seriously: money out of politics! Favorite role: father of Ellison. 143,t.
Liz McCartney (Ensemble) is thrilled to be a part of ANNIE, having been the first Broadway show she ever saw. Liz comes directly from the First National Tour of Wicked as Madame Morrible. Last fall, she played one of her dream roles: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at Drury Lane Oakbrook and after a ten year absence Liz re-joined the Broadway company of The Phantom Of The Opera where she again playEd Carlotta. She was in the closing cast and PBS broadcast of the 2008 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival; South Pacific and was part of the re-conception of Working with Stephen Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Liz received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir at The George Street Playhouse and played Ruth in the new version of Pirates at Paper Mill Playhouse. She is a veteran of many Broadway musicals: Mamma Mia (and she can be seen on the commercial), Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Les Miserables. In 2003, she originated the role of Sue Tilley in the Boy George musical Taboo; she also created the role of Rebecca in Dance Of The Vampires. Movies/TV: The Big Gay Musical, Show Business, “Saturday Night Live,” “Law and Order SVU,” “The Prosecutors” and “Route 66”. Recordings: Bingo, Taboo, The Big Gay Musical, 1999 and 2003 Carols for a Cure. She recently won a NYMF award and her show Rosemary and Time, A Musical Tribute to the life of Rosemary Clooney won her a Bistro Award. Liz is also and writer and composer and resides in New Jersey with the three loves of her life, her husband Tom and their daughters Megan and Keira.
Desi Oakley (Ensemble) is overwhelmed with gratitude to be a part of this show! Broadway: Wicked. National Tour: Wicked. Regional: Ariel, The Little Mermaid (MTWichita). Educational: Eva Perón, Evita (Michigan). BFA, University of Michigan.
Keven Quillon (Ensemble) is originally from Charlottesville, VA and is thrilled to be a part of ANNIE. Broadway: Shrek: THE MUSICAL (Gnome, Pied Piper), Grease (u/s Roger, Doody, Sonny, Dance Captain). 1st National Tours: Shrek: THE MUSICAL (Captain, Dragon Puppeteer), Grease, Sweet Charity (Quartet, u/s Herman), Saturday Night Fever (Joey, u/s Tony Manero), We Will Rock You (Las Vegas), Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Los Angeles). Workshops: An Officer & A Gentleman (Troy), Leap of Faith. Regional: Sacramento Music Circus, Maltz Jupiter, Heritage Rep. Cast Recordings: Grease, Shrek: THE MUSICAL. He is proud to be a graduate of James Madison University and a member of Actors Equity Association.
David Rossetti (Swing) Broadway Debut! National Tours: Hairspray, Fame. Regional favorites: Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy), The Drowsy Chaperone (Robert), Dames at Sea (Dick), A Chorus Line (Paul), Cabaret (Emcee). David is also a choreographer, puppeteer and running enthusiast. Graduate of Valdosta State University and proud AEA member.
Sarah Solie (Ensemble) was last seen on Broadway in the Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific. ANNIE marks Sarah's eighth Broadway show. Past shows include MARY POPPINS, Elton John's Lestat, High Society, Steel Pier, Beauty and the Beast, Cats and the First National Tour of Titanic. Regionally, Sarah has portrayed such roles as The Beggar Woman in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Anna Leonowens in The King and I and Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain. She has performed extensively as a jazz/pop vocalist in New York and New Jersey as well as with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. Her voice can be heard on the film soundtracks of Disney's Shaggy Dog, Home on the Range and Enchanted.
Dennis Stowe (Ensemble) Broadway: Leap of Faith, Shrek THE MUSICAL, The Apple Tree, The Wedding Singer, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wonderful Town, Man of La Mancha. NYC: Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall), Stairway to Paradise (Encores!). Pre-Broadway workshops: Leap of Faith, Shrek. Tours: West Side Story, Copacabana. Film: Across the Universe, Preaching to the Choir.
Ryan VanDenBoom (Ensemble), hometown Munger, MI, is elated to be making his Broadway debut in Annie. A recent graduate from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and CAP 21 Musical Theatre Conservatory, Ryan has worked regionally at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse (Kiss Me, Kate) and as performer/choreographer for Mac-Haydn Theatre (Anything Goes, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Damn Yankees …) He is currently using his Astaire/Kelly style as singer-dancer-choreographer for a new symphonic multimedia concert event; Here To Stay: The Gershwin Experience with international pianist Kevin Cole and Grammy Award winning soprano Sylvia McNair with conductors, Marvin Hamlisch, William Eddens, and others. He worked with legendary tap dancer/choreographer Danny Daniels to learn his original choreography for Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto, with symphony orchestra, preserving this masterpiece for future generations.
Sunny (Sandy) is a two-year-old terrier mix who was discovered by animal trainer William Berloni at the BARC Municipal Animal Shelter in Houston, TX., only 24 hours before she was scheduled to be put to sleep as an unwanted shelter dog. She was picked up as a stray dog and originally named Bruno and mistakenly thought to be a male. Berloni found Sunny's soulful eyes reminiscent of the Sandy from the original Broadway production. Sunny was adopted by Mr. Berloni on February 15, 2012 and has been training for her Broadway debut.
Casey (Sandy Understudy) is a one-year-old terrier mix, found at the Maury County Animal Shelter in Nashville, TN. Casey, originally named Porky, was scheduled to be put to sleep after her time to be adopted ran out. As she was being prepared to be euthanized, she broke free from the technician holding her and jumped into the arms of a volunteer. She won one more chance for adoption and Pet Pals of Maury County put her picture up on-line, where she came to the attention of animal trainer William Berloni who adopted her on February 1, 2012. She has a joyful outlook on life and much as she loves and respects Sunny, longs for the day when she'll make her Broadway debut as Sandy.
Thomas Meehan (Book) won the 2001 Tony Award for co-writing the book of The Producers with Mel Brooks, and then went on to win the 2003 Tony Award for co-writing the book of Hairspray with Mark O’Donnell. He received his first Tony Award in 1977 for writing the book of Annie, which was his first Broadway show, and he has since written books for, among others, THE MUSICALs I Remember Mama; Ain’t Broadway Grand; Annie Warbucks and the American version of Bombay Dreams. His most recent works are the Broadway musicals Young Frankenstein, for which he co-wrote the book with Mel Brooks; Cry-Baby, co-written with Mark O’Donnell; and Elf, co-written with Bob Martin. Meanwhile, the summer of 2010 saw the limited-run premiere of Death Takes a Holiday, for which he co-wrote the book with the late Peter Stone to music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. Future projects include Rocky, for which he has written the book to lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. Other works in earlier stages of development include musicals based on the life of Charlie Chaplin, the movie Tootsie, and the movie Dave. In addition, he is a long-time contributor of humor pieces, including “Yma Dream,” to The New Yorker; an Emmy Award-winning writer of television comedy; and a collaborator on a number of screenplays, including Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, To Be or Not to Be and the film version of The Producers. He is also the co-author, with the poet J.D. McClatchy, of the libretto of 1984, an opera composed by Lorin Maazel, based on George Orwell’s classic novel, which had its world premiere in the spring of 2005 at London’s Royal Opera House and was performed in 2008 at La Scala, in Milan, and last year at the opera house in Valencia. Mr. Meehan is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild and a winner of the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre as well as a pair of London’s Olivier Awards.
Charles Strouse (Music) Charles Strouse’s music has been an integral part of American culture for over 40 years. His first Broadway musical was the smash hit Bye Bye Birdie (written with long time collaborator Lee Adams). It won him a Tony Award® for Best Score and paved the way for his next show All American (book by Mel Brooks). In 1964, Golden Boy (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.) earned four Tony Award nominations, and in 1966, Strouse went on to write the Broadway favorite It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman! (based on the popular comic strip). In 1970, Applause (starring Lauren Bacall) won him his second Tony Award®. In 1977, he adapted another comic strip for the stage – Annie – which went on to become a worldwide phenomenon and garnered Strouse yet another Tony (in addition to two Grammys). Some of his other musicals include Dance A Little Closer (lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), Charlie & Algernon (Tony nomination), Rags (Tony nomination) and Nick & Nora (Tony nomination). Film scores include Bonnie & Clyde, There Was a Crooked Man, The Night They Raided Minsky’s and the animated All Dogs Go To Heaven. He also wrote the theme song “Those Were the Days” for the groundbreaking television show “All in the Family.” Strouse’s writing also extends into orchestral works, chamber music, piano concertos and opera. His “Concerto America” premiered at The Boston Pops in 2004, and his opera Nightingale (starring Sarah Brightman) had a long and successful run in London’s West End. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Strouse studied under Aaron Copland and Nadia Boulanger. In 1977, he founded the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in New York. He is the recipient of the Richard Rodgers as well as the Oscar Hammerstein Award. He is also a member of the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His book, Put On A Happy Face: A Broadway Memoir was released in June 2008.
Martin Charnin (Lyrics) In 1970, Charnin secured the rights to the celebrated long-running Chicago Tribune comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” created by Harold Gray. He ultimately entered into collaboration with Charles Strouse and Tom Meehan to turn the strip into an original Broadway musical. He maintained the rights until 1976 when Michael Price and the Goodspeed Opera House produced Annie, which was subsequently picked up by Lewis Allen and Mike Nichols and brought to Broadway in April, 1977. It played for 2,377 performances and won seven Tony Awards®, with Charnin as lyricist and director. Charnin has directed 19 other productions of Annie including all of its first class national companies, three West End productions, and productions in Holland and Australia. His last production was in 2005, celebrating Annie’s 30th anniversary. He began his professional career in 1957, creating the role of Big Deal in the original Broadway company of West Side Story, and he sang “Gee, Officer Krupke” for 1,000 performances. Since then, he has been the director, lyricist, composer, librettist or a combination of the aforementioned for over 125 theatrical ventures. He has collaborated with Peter Allen, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Marvin Hamlisch, Peter Stone, Mary Rodgers and Alan Jay Lerner, as well as two musicals with Richard Rodgers, Two by Two and I Remember Mama. His other Broadway productions include Hot Spot, The First, Lena Horne; The Lady and Her Music, Café Crown, A Little Family Business, The Flowering Peach, Nash at Nine and the off-Broadway productions of Upstairs at O’Neals, The No Frills Revue, Carnal Knowledge, Put It In Writing, Music, Music and in London, Bar Mitzvah Boy, Bless the Bride and The 9 ½ Quid Revue. He conceived and directed The National Lampoon Show which ultimately became “Saturday Night Live”. He has written for, or directed Fred Astaire, Jack Lemmon, Anne Bancroft, Joel Grey, Ann-Margaret, Danny Kaye, Johnny Mathis, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Meatloaf, Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gilda Radner, Chita Rivera, Liv Ullman, Lou Reed, Susan Sarandon, Joan Rivers, Jon Stuart, Shirley MacLaine, Marlo Thomas, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett, and Catherine Zeta Jones (who made her stage debut as “Molly” in his first London production of Annie in 1978). He has conceived, written, and directed eight musical-variety television programs: Anne Bancroft in “Annie, the Woman in the Life of a Man,” “Annie and the Hoods,” (again with Anne Bancroft), “George M,” “'S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Gershwin,” “Cole Porter in Paris,” “Get Happy,” “Dames at Sea” and “The Annie Christmas Show”. He has been nominated for, or received six Tonys, six Grammys, three Emmys, three Gold Records, two Platinum records, six Drama Desk Awards, The Peabody Award for Broadcasting, and Jay-Z’s album “Hard Knock Life,” which went triple platinum. Now in the works are: Softly (a musical with a score by the late Harold Arlen), Robin Hood (with Thomas Meehan and Peter Sipos). This fall, he will direct the new pre-Broadway production of Two by Two starring Jason Alexander and write the lyrics for and direct Skin Deep, a new Broadway bound musical, about what happens to Cinderella's wicked mother and unattractive step-sisters after Prince Charming fits the Glass Slipper on Cinderella. His other projects include the Time-Life double disc Annie 30th Anniversary production album, which also contains songs from Annie 2, “Rodgers & ...” a concert celebration of the music of Richard Rodgers and his six lyricists. Mr. Charnin functioned as narrator of the piece, which presented some 70 Rodgers songs and opened the 2009 season at “Lyrics & Lyricists” at the 92nd Street Y. In the Pacific Northwest, he has directed Shadowlands, Love is Love, Sleuth and is structuring a one-woman show for his wife and former Annie "Star-to-be" Shelly Burch.
James Lapine (Director) has worked with Stephen Sondheim on SUNDAY IN THE Park with George, Into the Woods and Passion. He also recently directed Merrily We Roll Along for Encores, and Sondheim on Sondheim for the Roundabout Theatre Company. With William Finn he has worked on Falsettos, A New Brain, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the soon to be produced Little Miss Sunshine. Other Broadway credits: The Diary of Anne Frank, Golden Child and Amour. He has written the plays: Table Settings, Twelve Dreams, Luck, Pluck & Virtue, The Moment When, Fran’s Bed and Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing. For the NY Shakespeare Festival he has directed A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter’s Tale and King Lear. He has received 11 Tony nominations, winning 3 times. He has also won 5 Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for SUNDAY IN THE Park with George. He was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2011.
Andy Blankenbuehler (Choreographer) won the 2008 Tony Award® for his choreography in the Tony Award-winning Best Musical In The Heights (also Lortel, Calloway, Outer Critics and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Choreography). Other Broadway projects include 9 to 5 (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics nominations), The People In The Picture and the revival of The Apple Tree. Other recent credits include The Wiz (City Center), Desperately Seeking Susan (West End) and the world premiere of Bring It On: THE MUSICAL, currently on tour. He has staged concert work for both Elton John and Bette Midler and has appeared as a guest choreographer on “So You Think You Can Dance”. As a performer, Mr. Blankenbuehler has danced on Broadway in Fosse, Contact, Man of La Mancha, Saturday Night Fever, Steel Pier, Big and Guys and Dolls. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Blankenbuehler resides in New York City, with his wife and two children, Luca and Sofia.