Interesting Facts About Annie the Musical

You’ve probably seen or at least know of the musical Annie—whether it’s the on-screen or on-stage production. But how much of the history and interesting facts do you know about the iconic musical? Hint: there’s a lot!

The first fun fact? It wast’s the closing performance by summer theater students at Brooks School Summer Program. Brooks’ Stages & Studios program is an immersive experience for those interested in exploring the many facets of the visual and performing arts—as well as participating in a traditional summer camp environment—and Annie is the perfect way to encapsulate what students have worked on.

Who wrote Annie the musical, and how did they come up with the idea?

In 1970, lyricist-director Martin Charnin bought a coffee table book called The Life and Hard Times of Little Orphan Annie as a Christmas gift for a friend. When he took the book home, instead of gift wrapping it, he read it and fell in love with the story. He then set out to secure the rights the week of Christmas that same year. The friend never got the book.

How old is Annie the musical?

After setting his sights on bringing Annie to life, Charnin pitched the idea to colleagues Charles Strouse—a two-time Tony-winning composer—and Thomas Meehan, a short story writer for The New Yorker. It took some work to convince them to come on board for the project, but the team was formed in 1971, which is when they started to write the musical. It finally premiered in 1977, making the show 45 years old! 

What is Annie the musical about? 

Annie is about a young orphan named Annie. After spending her childhood in an orphanage run by the unpleasant, child-hating Miss Hannigan, Annie is taken in by billionaire “Daddy Warbucks.”

Warbucks begins a search for Annie’s birth parents and publicly offers them a reward for coming forward and claiming their child. While doing so, he allows her to stay in his mansion with her beloved dog, Sandy, to help improve his public image. Meanwhile, “Miss Hannigan devises a plan with brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily to pose as Annie’s parents in an attempt to try and win the reward.”

What are some songs from Annie the musical? 

There are many iconic songs from Annie that you may know even if you’ve never seen the musical. Most notable are “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” 

Other songs include “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Annie: Little Girls,” and “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” to name a few.  

How long is Annie the musical? 

The broadway version of Annie typically has a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

Fun Facts About the Show

Now that you’re familiar with the history, background, plot, and music of Annie, let’s dive into some bonus fun facts you may not already know—even if you’ve seen the musical:

1. At the time of its premiere, the 1982 film was the most expensive musical ever made.

It’s said to have costed about $40 million to produce the 1982 on-screen production of Annie, “with a  large part of that budget (about $9.5 million) spent on buying the rights to the Broadway play.” 

2. The creator, Martin Charnin, hated the movie.

After selling the rights to his beloved play, this is what Charnin had to say about the film that premiered in 1982: 

“Warbucks, played by Albert Finney, ‘was an Englishman who screamed.’ Hannigan, played by Carol Burnett, was ‘a man-crazy drunk.’ And Annie was ‘cute-ed up.’ Worse, the emotional relationship between Annie and Warbucks was distorted. They even downplayed the hit song “Tomorrow” because ‘Stark thought it was corny.'”

3. Trained by Tony Award® Honoree Animal Trainer William Berloni, the original dog that portrayed Sandy became the “longest running dog on Broadway,” never missing a performance. 

4. Annie has made record-breaking history 

“In 2007, Annie played Madison Square Garden in New York for 5 weeks and grossed $8 million—a record for the Garden. As of now, it is the 13th longest-running American musical in Broadway history.” 

Experience the Magic on Stage

The theater has always been a great outlet for kids and teens, but there’s more to this art than simply acting. While taking the stage by storm is what most people think of when it comes to theatre, it can be broken down into more specifics like technical theater and the visual and performing arts. 

If your child is interested in learning more or pursuing the performing arts, be sure to enroll in our Stages & Studios program. Students will learn invaluable skills like leadership, communication, and time management from industry professionals. 

For more information on Annie the musical and our Stages & Studios program, reach out to us directly