Why Joe Iconis Had to Write a Musical for Annie Golden

Special Features   Why Joe Iconis Had to Write a Musical for Annie Golden
 
The composer opens up about their ten-year friendship—which began with him as a fan.
Annie Golden in <i>Broadway Bounty Hunter </i>at Barrington Stage Company
Annie Golden in Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage Company Scott Barrow

“I’ve known Annie Golden for years and years,” explains Joe Iconis. “She was an actor who I always loved and was a big fan of.” Golden stars in the composer’s latest musical, Broadway Bounty Hunter, which opens August 19 at Barrington Stage Company.

Joe Iconis
Joe Iconis

Inspired by the exploitation films of the 1970s, like Shaft or Enter the Dragon, the new musical follows a 60-year-old, down-on-her-luck actor named Annie, played by Golden, who is asked to become a bounty hunter and capture a South American drug lord.

The lead part was inspired by and written specifically for Golden, whom Iconis has known for over a decade. The two met when he was just starting his career, as a graduate of the musical theatre writing program at New York University. The young composer and lyricist was writing his thesis musical, The Black Suits, also with his favorite actress in mind.

“I wrote a role that was very clearly based off Annie Golden,” he says. “I didn’t know her at all, but I thought I’d write it and fantasize that she’d play it.”

Iconis mentioned to the NYU casting director that he’d envisioned Golden in the role, and the director just so happened to have cast her in another show. “He told me, ‘I know her. I don’t think she would ever do this reading, but I can ask her,’” explains Iconis. To his complete surprise, Golden accepted and stayed on with the show through its run at Barrington Stage Company.

“I’ve known her since,” says the composer. “She’s a great friend and just a great presence in my life—so supportive.”

Iconis reflected on Golden’s long and eclectic career—from being the lead singer in a punk band to her musical theatre background and, most recently, a leading role in the hit TV series Orange is the New Black—and was determined to write another musical in which she could shine.

Throughout the development of Broadway Bounty Hunter, Golden has helped the creative team—made up of co-book writers Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams—develop her character. “She’s essentially playing a fictionalized version of herself, so she’s been so helpful,” says Iconis. “Her personality has imbued the whole spirit of the show.”

Broadway Bounty Hunter began previews August 13 and will play through September 4 at Barrington’s St. Germain Stage. The show also stars Alan H. Green, Jeff McCarthy, and Scott Watanabe, along with Badia Farha, Kourtney Keitt, Anastacia McCleskey, Jamie Patterson, Porsha Putney, George Salazar, Shannon Tyo, and Jason Veasey; it features direction by Julianne Boyd, musical direction by Joel Waggoner and choreography by Jeffrey Page.

For tickets and more information visit BarringtonStageCo.org.

See highlights from Broadway Bounty Hunter, among other Barrington Stage Company productions, below.

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