Annie Ain't Just Annie Anymore: Annie Warbucks Opens Walnut Street Season in Fall

News   Annie Ain't Just Annie Anymore: Annie Warbucks Opens Walnut Street Season in Fall
 
Annie Warbucks, the 1993 sequel to the smash musical, Annie, will get a high-profile regional revival by Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia Sept. 7-Oct. 24.

Although the Annie sequel ran 200 performances Off-Broadway, October 1993-January 1994, and a cast recording was released on the Angel label, it is not a widely-known property. Because its profile has remained somewhat low, the show is thought by some to be inferior, though fans regard the story and score as strong as the original. It was thought the show might leap to Broadway in 1994, but a move never happened.

The story picks up right where Annie leaves off, with Daddy Warbucks getting bad news from New York City Commissioner Doyle (a lady villain in the tradition of Miss Hannigan). Turns out he can't adopt Annie unless he gets married. Luckily, Doyle's secretary, a widow named Mrs. Kelly, is available. This leaves Warbucks' hopeful assistant, Grace, out in the cold.

The usual suspects — Annie's orphan pals, Drake, Mrs. Pugh, FDR, Sandy — are again part of the show, which was written by the original creative team: Librettist Thomas Meehan, composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Martin Charnin.

Recognized as the score's standouts are "It Would Have Been Wonderful" (for Grace), "Love" (a ballad that attempts to be the show's central metaphor, as "Tomorrow" was in the original) and a knockout showstopper for Mrs. Kelly called "But You Go On," about her tragic past life. Donna McKechnie originated the Kelly role Off-Broadway, where Harve Presnell played Daddy and (the now college-age) Kathryn Zaremba was Annie.

* The 2004-05 Walnut Street season will also include new productions of Cats, Broadway Bound, The Constant Wife and West Side Story.

For more information, visit www.wstonline.org.

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Walnut Street staged Annie in fall 2003.

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