Although a new musical number by Annie songwriters Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse will not be added to the new TV musical version of the Broadway hit, the show's signature numbers will be in place, say producers.
The songlist for the "Wonderful World of Disney" production of "Annie" (currently filming in Los Angeles for a November 1999 airdate) is expected to include "Maybe," "(It's a) Hard Knock Life," "Tomorrow," "Little Girls," "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here," "N.Y.C.," "Easy Street," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," "Something Was Missing" and "I Don't Need Anything But You."
Apparently not in the mix are 1977 originals "We'd Like to Thank You" (which was also cut from the recent Broadway and touring revivals), both "Annie" and "You Won't Be an Orphan for Long" (two songs for the chorus of Warbucks' servants) and "A New Deal for Christmas."
Rob Marshall directs the TV version of the musical that surprised everyone with its optimism (and won Best Musical) in the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate era.
Alicia Morton, of Broadway's Les Miserables, plays the red-headed moppet, with Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan, Victor Garber as Warbucks, Audra McDonald as Grace, Alan Cumming as Rooster and Kristin Chenoweth as Lily. Andrea McArdle, the original Annie on Broadway, will make a special appearance as the "Star to Be" in the TV movie's "N.Y.C." sequence.
In pre-production, it was hoped that a new number might written, perhaps for Bates' Miss Hannigan, the orphanage matron, but that plan did not materialize.
Executive producer Chris Montan (of Walt Disney) and executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (of Storyline Entertainment) are re-teaming following their 1997 success with the ABC "Wonderful World of Disney" broadcast of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella." Mary Kay Powell of Rastar Productions will executive produce and Brad Krevoy will co produce.
The property was previously filmed by John Huston for a feature released in 1982. The movie was a box office disappointment and altered plot and song elements.
If the TV version is the ratings success that "Cinderella" was, the producers don't have to look far for a sequel: Strouse and Charnin's sequel, Annie Warbucks, was a well-regarded, if formulaic, musical that had a brief run Off-Broadway.
-- By Kenneth Jones