Gifford, who penned the Off-Broadway musical Under the Bridge, will play the orphan-hating Miss Hannigan when the Thomas Meehan-Martin Charnin-Charles Strouse musical plays Madison Square Garden, Dec. 6-30. The New York engagement — which also features Conrad John Schuck as Daddy Warbucks and Marissa O'Donnell in the title role — marks the musical's 30th anniversary. Lyricist Charnin directs.
In a statement, Gifford said, "When Martin Charnin first asked me to join the cast of Annie, I was young enough to actually play her! Now, many 'tomorrows' later, it’s kind of ironic to hear he thinks I'm perfect for Miss Hannigan! Looking in the mirror, I have to agree. Kidding aside, I'm honored and excited to be joining this talented cast in such a superb new production. And in New York City! I guess Christmas came early for me this year."
Best known as the co-host of "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee," Kathie Lee Gifford made her Broadway debut in Putting It Together. She is also the composer-lyricist of Under the Bridge and Saving Aimee; the latter will be presented at Virginia's Signature Theatre this spring.
The creative team for the current Annie tour includes Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music) Martin Charnin (direction, lyrics) Peter Gennaro (original Broadway staging), Liza Gennaro (choreographer) Ming Cho Lee (set), Theoni V. Aldredge (costumes), Ken Billington (lighting), Peter Hylenski (sound), Jimm Halliday (additional costume designer), Bernie Ardia (hair designer), William Berloni (animal trainer), Keith Levenson (musical director).
Featuring a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, Annie is based on the famed comic-strip character who begins an orphan and ends up the daughter of a billionaire. The original Broadway production opened in April 1977 and made a star out of its first Annie, Andrea McArdle, and won a Tony for its Miss Hannigan, the late Dorothy Loudon. The show also won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Its classic score includes such tunes as "Tomorrow," "Maybe," "Little Girls," "Easy Street" and "It's the Hard Knock Life." Tickets for Annie, priced $35-$75, with $99 VIP seats available, can be purchased by visiting the Madison Square Garden box office (Seventh Avenue at 32nd Street), by logging on to www.thegarden.com or by calling (212) 307-7171.