A last-minute cast-change notwithstanding, the Helen Hayes Center’s production of the musical Annie has already proved a hot enough ticket to mandate an extra week of performances. The show, which begins Dec. 2, will now run through Dec. 30, instead of a previously announced Dec. 23.
Martin Vidnovic, a 1981 Tony nominee for Brigadoon, plays Daddy Warbucks, with Beth Leavel set to play the evil Miss Hannigan. (Jan Neuberger had been previously announced for the Hannigan role.) Kelsey Fatabene will play the little orphan adopted by the rich Warbucks. Jenn Thompson, who played one of the replacement orphans in the original Broadway run, has graduated to the role of Warbucks' assistant, Grace.
Richard Sabellico directs and choreographs the Hayes staging, with Vincent Trovato serving as musical director. Annie was composed by Charles Strouse (music) and Martin Charnin (lyrics), with Thomas Meehan contributing the book. All won 1977 Tonys, with the smash hit show also winning for Best Musical. The last Broadway revival of Annie, directed by Charnin, proved only moderately successful and marred by controversy over the casting of a talent-contest winner as the title character, only to see her fired and replaced a few scant weeks before the show made it to Broadway. An Off-Broadway sequel, Annie Warbucks, was also considered a box office disappointment.
Designing the sets and costumes for the Upstate New York mounting are Michael Bottari and Ronald Case, who will be using some of Theoni V. Aldredge’s original Broadway costumes for the production. Richard Latta is the lighting designer; Rafe Carlotto the sound designer. Actor Vidnovic also appeared on Broadway in Baby and Olympus On My Mind. Leavel was the original Tess in the musical Crazy For You.
For tickets $32.50-$42.50 and information on Annie at the Helen Hayes Center in Nyack, NY call (845) 358-6333. *
The rest of the 2000-01 mainstage season at the Hayes Center will include:
March 17-April 1, 2001: the world premiere of A Tale of Two Cities, adapted by Joseph T. McDonald (book) and Robert Hoover (music and lyrics) probably of a musical.
April 21-May 6, 2001: Alfred Uhry's Tony-winning drama, The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
June 2-17, 2001: A Chorus Line.
For tickets and subscription information ($149-$208) to shows at the Hayes Center, 117 Main Street, Nyack, NY, call (845) 358-6333.
— By David Lefkowitz