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Friday, 27 April 2012 11:08

Lilla Crawford to Star as Annie in Fall 2012 Revival of ANNIE


After a multi-city coast-to-coast search that spanned nine months and over 5,000 auditions, ANNIE has found its Annie!  Eleven-year-old Lilla Crawford will play the title role in the new production of the classic Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical, opening Fall, 2012 at a Nederlander theatre to be announced.  The production will be directed by three-time Tony Award® winner James Lapine and choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler.

{module ad_left_body}“Oh, my gosh, it happened!  My heart just stopped,” said Lilla Crawford, when she heard the news.  “I thought it would be so cool just to be a part of ANNIE, but to actually be playing Annie is a dream come true!”

“We fell in love with Lilla from the moment we saw her,” commented producer Arielle Tepper Madover. “When she is in the room you can’t take your eyes off her. She has a gorgeous voice, is a terrific actress, wonderful dancer and a sweet girl.  She is everything that we could have ever hoped for in an Annie. We are so happy to have met her and think everyone will fall in love with her the way we did.”

Crawford made her Broadway debut in 2011, playing Debbie in the closing cast of Billy Elliot on Broadway.   She was featured in a workshop production of Craig Wright’s Melissa Arctic.  She has also performed in 14 shows with YADA (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts) in her native Los Angeles.

Group tickets for ANNIE are now on sale.  Contact Nederlander Sales & Patron Services at 212-840-3890/800-714-8452 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. 

ANNIE features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan, based on the newspaper character “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray. 

The original production of ANNIE opened 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 (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin).  The show was one of the biggest Broadway musical hits of the 1970s, running for almost six years and playing 2,377 performances. 

The score for ANNIE includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow”. 

The award-winning creative team includes scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Brian Ronan.  Music director is Todd Ellison.  Hair and wig design is by David Watson.  Casting is by Telsey + Company.  Animal training is by Tony Award-winner William Berloni.   

ANNIE will be produced on Broadway by Arielle Tepper Madover, Roger Horchow, Sally Horchow, Roger Berlind, Roy Furman, Debbie Bisno, Stacey Mindich, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Daryl Roth/Jane Bergère and Eva Price/Christina Papagjika.

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Thomas Meehan (Book) won the 2001 Tony Award® for co-writing the book of The Producers with Mel Brooks, and then went on to win the 2003 Tony Award® for co-writing the book of Hairspray with Mark O’Donnell.  He received his first Tony Award® in 1977 for writing the book of Annie, which was his first Broadway show, and he has since written books for, among others, the musicals I Remember Mama; Ain’t Broadway Grand; Annie Warbucks and the American version of Bombay Dreams.  His most recent works are the Broadway musicals Young Frankenstein, for which he co-wrote the book with Mel Brooks; Cry-Baby, co-written with Mark O’Donnell; and Elf, co-written with Bob Martin.  Meanwhile, the summer of 2010 saw the limited-run premiere of Death Takes a Holiday, for which he co-wrote the book with the late Peter Stone to music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. Future projects include Rocky, for which he has written the book to lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. Other works in earlier stages of development include musicals based on the life of Charlie Chaplin, the movie Tootsie, and the movie Dave.  In addition, he is a long-time contributor of humor pieces, including “Yma Dream,” to The New Yorker; an Emmy Award-winning writer of television comedy; and a collaborator on a number of screenplays, including Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, To Be or Not to Be and the film version of The Producers.  He is also the co-author, with the poet J.D. McClatchy, of the libretto of 1984, an opera composed by Lorin Maazel, based on George Orwell’s classic novel, which had its world premiere in the spring of 2005 at London’s Royal Opera House and was performed in 2008 at La Scala, in Milan, and last year at the opera house in Valencia.  Mr. Meehan is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild and a winner of the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre as well as a pair of London’s Olivier Awards.

Charles Strouse (Music) Charles Strouse’s music has been an integral part of American culture for over 40 years.  His first Broadway musical was the smash hit Bye Bye Birdie (written with long time collaborator Lee Adams).  It won him a Tony Award® for Best Score and paved the way for his next show All American (book by Mel Brooks).  In 1964, Golden Boy (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.) earned four Tony Award® nominations, and in 1966, Strouse went on to write the Broadway favorite It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman! (based on the popular comic strip). In 1970, Applause (starring Lauren Bacall) won him his second Tony Award®.  In 1977, he adapted another comic strip for the stage –

Annie – which went on to become a worldwide phenomenon and garnered Strouse yet another Tony (in addition to two Grammys).  Some of his other musicals include Dance A Little Closer (lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), Charlie & Algernon (Tony nomination), Rags (Tony nomination) and Nick & Nora (Tony nomination).  Film scores include Bonnie & Clyde, There Was a Crooked Man, The Night They Raided Minsky’s and the animated All Dogs Go To Heaven.  He also wrote the theme song “Those Were the Days” for the groundbreaking television show “All in the Family.”  Strouse’s writing also extends into orchestral works, chamber music, piano concertos and opera.  His “Concerto America” premiered at The Boston Pops in 2004, and his opera Nightingale (starring Sarah Brightman) had a long and successful run in London’s West End.  A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Strouse studied under Aaron Copland and Nadia Boulanger. In 1977, he founded the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in New York.  He is the recipient of the Richard Rodgers as well as the Oscar Hammerstein Award. He is also a member of the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  His book, Put On A Happy Face: A Broadway Memoir was released in June 2008.

Martin Charnin (Lyrics) In 1970, Charnin secured the rights to the celebrated long-running Chicago Tribune comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” created by Harold Gray.  He ultimately entered into collaboration with Charles Strouse and Tom Meehan to turn the strip into an original Broadway musical.  He maintained the rights until 1976 when Michael Price and the Goodspeed Opera House produced Annie, which was subsequently picked up by Lewis Allen and Mike Nichols and brought to Broadway in April, 1977.  It played for 2,377 performances and won seven Tony Awards®, with Charnin as lyricist and director.  Charnin has directed 19 other productions of Annie including all of its first class national companies, three West End productions, and productions in Holland and Australia.  His last production was in 2005, celebrating Annie’s 30th anniversary.  He began his professional career in 1957, creating the role of Big Deal in the original Broadway company of West Side Story, and he sang “Gee, Officer Krupke” for 1,000 performances.  Since then, he has been the director, lyricist, composer, librettist or a combination of the aforementioned for over 125 theatrical ventures.  He has collaborated with Peter Allen, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Marvin Hamlisch, Peter Stone, Mary Rodgers and Alan Jay Lerner, as well as two musicals with Richard Rodgers, Two by Two and I Remember Mama.  His other Broadway productions include Hot Spot, The First, Lena Horne; The Lady and Her Music, Café Crown, A Little Family Business, The Flowering Peach, Nash at Nine and the off-Broadway productions of Upstairs at O’Neals, The No Frills Revue, Carnal Knowledge, Put It In Writing, Music, Music and in London, Bar Mitzvah Boy, Bless the Bride and The 9 ½ Quid Revue.  He conceived and directed The National Lampoon Show which ultimately became “Saturday Night Live”.  He has written for, or directed Fred Astaire, Jack Lemmon, Anne Bancroft, Joel Grey, Ann-Margaret, Danny Kaye, Johnny Mathis, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Meatloaf, Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gilda Radner, Chita Rivera, Liv Ullman, Lou Reed, Susan Sarandon, Joan Rivers, Jon Stuart, Shirley MacLaine, Marlo Thomas, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett, and Catherine Zeta Jones (who made her stage debut as “Molly” in his first London production of Annie in 1978).  He has conceived, written, and directed eight musical-variety television programs: Anne Bancroft in “Annie, the Woman in the Life of a Man,” “Annie and the Hoods,” (again with Anne Bancroft), “George M,” “'S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Gershwin,” “Cole Porter in Paris,” “Get Happy,” “Dames at Sea” and “The Annie Christmas Show”.  He has been nominated for, or received six Tonys, six Grammys, three Emmys, three Gold Records, two Platinum records, six Drama Desk Awards, The Peabody Award for Broadcasting, and Jay-Z’s album “Hard Knock Life,” which went triple platinum.  Now in the works are:  Softly (a musical with a score by the late Harold Arlen), Robin Hood (with Thomas Meehan and Peter Sipos).  This fall, he will direct the new pre-Broadway production of Two by Two starring Jason Alexander and write the lyrics for and direct Skin Deep, a new Broadway bound musical, about what happens to Cinderella's wicked mother and unattractive step-sisters after Prince Charming fits the Glass Slipper on Cinderella.  His other projects include the Time-Life double disc Annie 30th Anniversary production album, which also contains songs from Annie 2, “Rodgers & ...” a concert celebration of the music of Richard Rodgers and his six lyricists.  Mr. Charnin functioned as narrator of the piece, which presented some 70 Rodgers songs and opened the 2009 season at “Lyrics & Lyricists” at the 92nd Street Y.  In the Pacific Northwest, he has directed Shadowlands, Love is Love, Sleuth and is structuring a one-woman show for his wife and former Annie "Star-to-be" Shelly Burch.

James Lapine (Director) has worked with Stephen Sondheim on Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Passion.  He also recently directed Merrily We Roll Along for Encores, and Sondheim on Sondheim for the Roundabout Theatre Company. With William Finn he has worked on Falsettos, A New Brain, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the soon to be produced Little Miss Sunshine.   Other Broadway credits: The Diary of Anne Frank, Golden Child and Amour. He has written the plays: Table Settings, Twelve Dreams, Luck, Pluck & Virtue, The Moment When, Fran’s Bed and Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing.  For the NY Shakespeare Festival he has directed A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter’s Tale and King Lear. He has received 11 Tony nominations, winning 3 times. He has also won 5 Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Sunday in the Park with George. He was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2011. For more information see

Andy Blankenbuehler (Choreographer) won the 2008 Tony Award® for his choreography in the Tony Award-winning Best Musical In The Heights (also Lortel, Calloway, Outer Critics and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Choreography). Other Broadway projects include 9 to 5 (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics nominations), The People In The Picture and the revival of The Apple Tree. Other recent credits include The Wiz (City Center), Desperately Seeking Susan (West End) and the world premiere of Bring It On: The Musical, currently on tour. He has staged concert work for both Elton John and Bette Midler and has appeared as a guest choreographer on “So You Think You Can Dance”. As a performer, Mr. Blankenbuehler has danced on Broadway in Fosse, Contact, Man of La Mancha, Saturday Night Fever, Steel Pier, Big and Guys and Dolls. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Blankenbuehler resides in New York City, with his wife and two children, Luca and Sofia.

David Korins (Scenic Designer) Broadway: Chinglish, Godspell, Magic/Bird, An Evening with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin, Lombardi, The Pee-Wee Herman Show, Bridge & Tunnel, Passing Strange and Motown (upcoming). He has designed shows for many Off-Broadway and regional theaters as well as several concerts for Kanye West. In 2013, he will be designing world premiere operas at the San Francisco Opera and the Santa Fe Opera Company. David is the proud recipient of a Drama Desk, a Lucille Lortel, two Hewes Design Awards and the 2009 Obie Award For Sustained Excellence in Design.

Susan Hilferty (Costume Designer) has designed more than 300 productions for theatres across America and internationally. Her directorial collaborators include Athol Fugard (set, costumes, co-director), Michael Mayer, James Lapine, Robert Falls, Robert Woodruff, Joe Mantello, JoAnne Akalaitis, Garland Wright, Mark Lamos, Frank Galati, Des McAnuff, Sharon Ott, David Petrarca, Richard Nelson, Christopher Ashley, Kenny Leon, Laurie Anderson, Tony Kushner, Carole Rothman, Garry Hynes and Emily Mann. Upcoming and recent work: Rigoletto (Metropolitan Opera 2012/2013), Taylor Swift “Speak Now” World Tour.  Broadway: Wonderland, Sondheim on Sondheim, Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), Lestat (Tony nomination), Assassins, Into the Woods (Hewes Award, Tony nomination), Dirty Blonde. She chairs Graduate Design Department at NYU/Tisch. Her numerous awards include the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Wicked.

Donald Holder (Lighting Designer) Broadway: Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Leap Of Faith,  The Mother****** With The Hat, Promises, Promises, Arcadia, Come Fly Away, South Pacific (2008 Tony Award®), Ragtime, Les Liasons Dangereuses, A Streetcar Named Desire, Gem of The Ocean, Movin’ Out, Juan Darien (all Tony-nominated), The Lion King (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Paris Moliere Award, London Olivier nomination), Cyrano de Bergerac (Henry Hewes Award), Radio Golf, The Little Dog Laughed, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Shop of Horrors, Prelude to a Kiss, The Boy From Oz, many others. Off-Broadway: Blood and Gifts, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte), Almost an Evening, A Man of No Importance, Birdie Blue, Observe The Sons of Ulster... (Lortel Award), Jitney, Saturday Night, Three Days of Rain, many others.  Television: “Smash” Season One:  NBC-Dreamworks.  Opera:  The Magic Flute (NY Metropolitan Opera), Two Boys (English National and the Met), Moby Dick (Dallas Opera, Opera Australia, San Diego Opera), Dark Sisters (Music Theatre Group and Philadelphia Opera Co), Grendel (Los Angeles Opera, Lincoln Center Festival, New York), many others. Mr. Holder has designed at resident theatres across the US.

Brian Ronan (Lighting Designer) has designed the sound for over twenty Broadway musicals and plays. Some recent designs include The Book of Mormon (Tony Award®), Anything Goes (Drama Desk), American Idiot, Promises, Promises, Next to Normal (Tony nomination), Grease, Curtains, Spring Awakening as well as Grey Gardens and The Pajama Game, which both earned Drama Desk nominations.  Off Broadway designs include Rent, Everyday Rapture, Saved, 10 Million Miles and Bug (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards).  Regional designs include Giant (Dallas Theatre Center), Bonnie & Clyde (LaJolla), Dancing in the Dark (The Old Globe), A Christmas Carol (McCarter).  His career has spanned 25 years and taken him across America, Europe and Asia and has afforded him the opportunity to work with the most talented composers, directors, designers, actors, musicians and stagehands in the world for which he is eternally grateful.

Tom Watson (Hair and Wig Designer) is head of the wig and makeup department at the Metropolitan Opera.  He has designed wigs for more than 50 Broadway productions.  Current and recent Broadway designs include On a Clear Day..., How to Succeed..., Wonderland, House of Blue Leaves, Born Yesterday, The Addams Family, Million Dollar Quartet, Rock of Ages, Wicked, Promises, Promises, Elling, Mrs. Warre n's Profession, South Pacific, Sondheim on Sondheim, A View from the Bridge and Sunday in the Park with George.

Todd Ellison (Musical Director) Broadway: La Cage aux Folles, Monty Python's Spamalot, Lestat, Amour, 42nd Street, Wild Party, On the Town, Once Upon a Mattress, How to Succeed..., She Loves Me, Cats, Starlight Express, Annie 2, Encores! On the Town and No, No, Nanette. Composed incidental music: A Class Act, Taller Than a Dwarf. International: Vienna Konzerthaus: Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Dublin Film Orchestra, Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, Carnegie Hall: Jubilee. Has accompanied such stars as: Nicole Kidman, Barry Manilow, Natalie Portman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Meryl Streep. 

Telsey + Company (Casting) Broadway casting credits include Evita, Newsies, The Best Man, Magic/Bird, A Streetcar Named Desire, Godspell, Memphis, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Porgy and Bess, Sister Act, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rock of Ages, Wicked, The Normal Heart, The Addams Family, Next to Normal, Rent, In the Heights, South Pacific, and Hairspray.  Film credits include the upcoming The Odd Life of Timothy Green and Friends with Kids as well as I Love You Philip Morris, Margin Call, The Other Woman, Main Street, Howl, Rachel Getting Married, Sex and the City 2, Sex and the City: The Movie, Across the Universe, Dan in Real Life, Pieces of April and Rent.  Telsey + Company has also cast several television projects, including the current series “Smash” for NBC, “A Gifted Man” for CBS and The Big C” for Showtime.  Credits also include several national tours, off-Broadway productions, regional theatre productions, and commercials.

William Berloni (Animal Trainer) 2011 Recipient of the Tony Award® Honor for Excellence in Theater.  Mr. Berloni’s Broadway animal training credits include the original Sandy in Annie, Camelot with Richard Burton, Frankenstein, The First, Alice in Wonderland, Oliver, Anything Goes (at Lincoln Center), Nick and Nora, La Bete, The Wiz, the 20th and 30th Anniversary revivals of Annie, the Madison Square Garden production of The Wizard of Oz, Dinner at Eight (at Lincoln Center), Gypsy with Bernadette Peters, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Woman in White, Awake and Sing, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Legally Blonde The Musical, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and The Royal Family. He also trained a dog for Susan Stroman’s ballet Double Feature at the New York City Ballet. Mr. Berloni has trained animals for hundreds of Off-Broadway shows, including working at the New York Shakespeare Festival on nine different productions, regional theaters, tours, movies and television shows.  Recent films include Someday This Pain Will Be Useful starring Marcia Gay Hardon, Lucy Liu and Ellen Burstyn, Great Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones and Charlie Wilson’s War directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.  His most recent television shows include Disney’s new television film “Frenemies,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “Sesame Street,” “Johnny and the Sprites," “Between the Lions,” “Reading Rainbow,” “Oobi,” Animal Planet’s “Wild on the Set,” “Dogs 101,” “Outrageous Animals” as well as featured stories on the Today Show, CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning.  He was also a celebrity judge on MTV’s reality show “Legally Blonde, The Search for Elle Woods”. Ladies Home Journal profiled Mr. Berloni in their January 2010 edition and in January 2010, Dog Fancy Magazine included him as one of the “Top 40 Dog People You’ve Gotta Know”.  His animals have appeared for the White House for Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama.  As an author, he has written Sandy: The Autobiography of a Star published by Simon and Schuster, Doga: Yoga for Dogs by Chronicle Books and his latest book, Broadway Tails is published by Globe Pequot Press and available now in stores and online. Proceeds of that book will be donated to the Sandy Fund at the Humane Society of New York.  Mr. Berloni has received the ASPCA Humanitarian Award and the American Humane Association Craven Award for his work on Broadway. Mr. Berloni, his wife Dorothy and their daughter Jenna, live on a farm in Connecticut with twenty-two dogs, four cats, four horses, a pony, two llamas and a miniature donkey. Mr. Berloni is currently the Director of Animal Behavior for the Humane Society of New York and is involved in helping animals that need homes. Visit our Website at