Maggie Task, the Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional actress who originated the role of Miss Hannigan when Annie was still in development at Goodspeed Opera House, died Jan. 20 at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York, according to friends.
Ms. Task, 76, had battled cancer for six years.
It was Ms. Task who had the job of playing the villainous Miss Hannigan when writers Martin Charnin, Charles Strouse and Tom Meehan were creating the musical in the mid 1970s. The role was rewritten during and after Ms. Task's association with the tryout in Connecticut, and eventually Dorothy Loudon was cast, to great acclaim. Annie opened on Broadway in 1977.
Ms. Task appeared in more than 25 New York musicals, including Sweeney Todd, Look to the Lilies, Coco, Anya, Funny Girl, Greenwillow and The Most Happy Fella. She appeared in The Club Off-Broadway.
Her stock and regional credits included Kenley Players in Ohio, St. Louis MUNY, Asolo Theatre in Florida, Goodspeed in Connecticut and Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. One of her last stage performances was in a New Jersey revival of the musical, High Spirits.
Ms. Task also appeared in films, including "The Verdict," and on soap operas. For the last five years she served as vice president and treasurer of T 'n' T Classics, Inc., a publisher of (mostly) gay plays. The company was founded in 1994 by Ms. Task and Francine L. Trevens.
Ms. Task is survived by a brother, Harry, and his wife, Chris, of Texas, and two nephews and a grand niece.
A celebration of her life is set for 3 PM March 5 at Ethical Culture on Central Park West.
-- By Kenneth Jones