EXCLUSIVE: Annie Co-Creator Martin Charnin Is Working on a Cinderella-Inspired New Musical

News   EXCLUSIVE: Annie Co-Creator Martin Charnin Is Working on a Cinderella-Inspired New Musical
 
Tony Award winner Martin Charnin, the lyricist and original director of Annie, is working on a new musical called Skin Deep, offering the further adventures of Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters.

Martin Charnin
Martin Charnin Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Charnin told Playbill.com that he will pen lyrics and direct the project. He's in discussions with a librettist and a composer about the musical comedy, which will "follow the subsequent, untold adventures of Cinderella's stepmother, and her two unfortunately unattractive and desperate stepsisters, and their search for happiness after Prince Charming whisks Cinderella off to her new life."

The show is Broadway-aimed, he said, with producer Barbara Portman, an investor in such Broadway shows as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, attached. The project's estimated capitalization is $8-10 million.

Expect a musical comedy "told as a romantic fairytale" that "will examine the concept of what makes someone beautiful and desirable, taking swipes along the way at our maddening contemporary fixation with perfection."

Charnin has been living and working in Seattle in recent years. He and his wife Shelly Burch are moving back to New York City, while maintaining creative ties to Seattle, where they have developed shows and concerts, and where Charnin has directed.

Charnin said he and his Skin Deep producer are aiming for a spring 2013 opening, several months after the 35th anniversary production of Annie is revived on Broadway (James Lapine is directing the classic). Charnin's most recent original show, Love Is Love, a revue, played a 2009 Florida engagement starring Burch and original Annie star Andrea McArdle. With music and lyric chores shared by Charnin and Richard Gray, Love Is Love is about the mysteries and complications of love, featuring an ensemble of women and monologues by five librettists.

Charnin shared the 1978 Best Score Tony Award (with composer Charles Strouse) for Annie, which also won the Tony as Best Musical.

Charnin's last New York musical-theatre directing gig in New York City was a 2006 national tour of Annie, which played an engagement at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. In 2009, he curated and narrated a 92nd Street Y concert called Rodgers & …., featuring songs by Richard Rodgers and the many lyricists he has worked with over the years. Charnin and Rodgers wrote the musical Two by Two.

The Grimm Brothers fairytale about Cinderella, her wicked stepfamily and her meeting with a prince, has been the source for several theatrical properties, including a Rodgers & Hammerstein TV musical that has found a wide life on the stage (and will be adapted by Douglas Carter Beane for a Broadway premiere); Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods; a Disney animated movie; and a film "Ever After," which has been adapted for the musical stage.

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