When it comes to “Annie,” hope – no matter if it’s during the Great Depression or in a year of political turmoil – always springs eternal.
“It’s the timeless story of optimism,” said Erin Fish, who plays Miss Hanigan, who runs the orphanage that Annie flees. “It’s a great message and one we need in this day and time.”
Fish and a cast that includes Tori Bates (Annie), Gilgamesh Taggett (Oliver Warbucks), Casey Prins (Grace Farrell) and Jeffrey B. Duncan (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) will tell the eternal tale of an orphan finding a family when “Annie” takes the stage at the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric for three shows from April 21-22.
“Annie” is known as much for its story as the music that accompanies the musical, which is directed by original lyricist Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro.
The audience can expect all the classic songs by Tony Award winners Charles Strouse and Charnin that include “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” and of course, “Tomorrow.”
Bates, a red head, stars as the title character who escapes the orphanage in search of a new home. Meanwhile, Fish puts a comedic spin on Miss Hanigan, a role made famous by Carol Burnett in the 1982 hit movie that was recast in 2014 and made more than $133 million worldwide.
“Carol Burnett is an idol of mine,” Fish said. “When you have a role in ‘Annie’ that so many people have seen, the role comes with expectations. I want to make Miss Hanigan a good villain and I think you can’t have a good villain if you can’t get the audience to like you a little bit.”
The original production of “Annie” debuted on April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Strouse, Charnin).
“Annie” was endured decades. It remains one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time, as it ran for 2,377 performances after opening. It has since been performed in 28 languages and has been running somewhere throughout the world for the past 39 years.
“’Annie’ is one of those shows that so many of us have grown up with,” Fish said. “It’s like that blank we had as a child that we always can go back to and love.”
If You Go
When: April 21: 7:30 p.m.; April 22: 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $32-$62 and can be purchased here.