This is the Manhattan stop of a national tour that's been traveling the nation starring Conrad John Schuck as Daddy Warbucks and Marissa O'Donnell in the title role. (Jeff Award-winner Alene Robertson is the tour's orphan mistress and will be Gifford's standby.)
Gifford is in Annie just for this leg of the tour, in the city that saw her in Broadway's Putting It Together.
This is Annie's 30th anniversary production, directed by lyricist Martin Charnin. The Tony Award-winning show has a libretto by Thomas Meehan and a score by Charles Strouse.
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."
Kathie Lee Gifford is a singer, actress, musical theatre composer and former talk-show host. She may be best known as the co-host of "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee." She made her Broadway debut in Putting It Together and is also the composer-lyricist of the musicals 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 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).
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.