First Date, 700 Sundays, Annie, and Betrayal Close

First Date Broadway ShowNow is the annual culling of the Broadway herd, when a number of struggling shows inevitably close following the Christmas and New Year’s holiday spike. Spider-man ended its run yesterday, and today four more shows are playing their final performances and then closing their doors.

The Broadway revival of Annie enjoyed success after opening last season, but sales have gradually dwindled, making it no longer profitable to keep the show running. The charming new musical First Date (featuring Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck) was one of the first Broadway shows to open this season, but it wasn’t able to hold on any longer with lackluster ticket sales.

The other two shows closing today, the Harold Pinter drama Betrayal (starring Daniel Craig) and Billy Crystal’s one-man play 700 Sundays, both did spectacularly well but are closing because they were only ever scheduled to play limited engagements.

Annie Offers Tickets to People Who Adopt Shelter Dogs

Annie Broadway MusicalThe beloved Broadway musical Annie, which is currently enjoying a revival on Broadway, is well known for being about the plucky orphan Annie who optimistically sings about “Tomorrow”. But almost as well known is Annie’s adorable dog Sandy, who is her loyal companion during her adventures in New York City. Fittingly, Annie is now offering a free ticket giveaway throughout October in honor of Adopt-a-Dog month.

Anyone who decides to adopt a canine from one of the New York City animal shelters that is participating in the program will get a voucher that is good for two tickets to go see the current production of Annie on Broadway sometime during the month of November.

New York Animal Care & Control, The Humane Society of New York, Animal Haven, Sean Casey Animal Rescue and Louie’s Legacy are among the shelters taking part in Annie‘s free ticket offer for people who adopt dogs.

Annie, which is scheduled to end its Broadway run on January 5, 2014, is a big supporter of adopting pets, as evidenced by the fact that the show cast an actual shelter dog, Sunny, to play the part of the dog Sandy. Animal trainer Bill Berloni trained Sunny, who was chosen from a Houston shelter during a nationwide search, to become a Broadway “actor”.

Annie features young actress Taylor Richardson in the title role and currently co-stars Broadway regular Faith Prince as Miss Hannigan and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks. Clarke Thorell, J. Elaine Marcos, and Jenni Barber also star in the production. Written by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, and Thomas Meehan, Annie won several Tony Awards in 1977 during its original Broadway run.

The Adopt-a-Dog free ticket giveaway goes through October 31 while supplies last. Visit AnnietheMusical.com for more information about Annie the musical.

Annie To Close on Broadway in January

Annie Broadway MusicalThe producers of the Broadway revival of Annie have announced that the production will close on January 5, 2014. Annie, which opened on Broadway in November of 2012, will close having played over 500 performances.

The original Broadway production of Annie opened in 1977, won seven Tony Awards, and played more than 2,000 performances. In addition to the current revival, there was also a revival in 1997.

Written by Charles Strouse (music), Martin Charnin (lyrics), and Thomas Meehan (book), Annie is a musical based on the famed comic strip about an orphan girl living in Depression-era New York City. It is best known for memorable songs such as “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life”.

Cameron Diaz To Co-Star in Film of Broadway Musical Annie

Cameron DiazCasting for the forthcoming movie version of Annie, starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), continues. It has been announced that Cameron Diaz will take on the part of the harried and bitter orphanage matron Miss Hannigan. Cameron Diaz is a well-known film actress, having starred in movies such as There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Shrek, and Charlie’s Angels.

The role of Miss Hannigan is currently being played by Jane Lynch (TV’s Glee) in the Broadway revival of Annie. When the production opened, Katie Finneran was playing the part. It was also notably played by Carol Burnett in the original film version of Annie.

The new Annie movie is being produced by Jay-Z and Will Smith. While it will include many of the Broadway musical’s classic songs, it will also incorporate new songs by Jay-Z. Jamie Foxx is set to co-star in the movie, playing the Daddy Warbucks character, renamed Benjamin Stacks.

Beasts of the Southern Wild Star To Be New Annie

Quvenzhane WallisThe adorable actress Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), the youngest performer to receive a Lead Actress nomination in Oscar history, will take on the iconic role of Annie in the forthcoming remake of the movie musical. Will Smith and Jay-Z, who is expected to contribute additional songs, are serving as producers on the new Annie film.

“She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her,” stated Columbia Pictures president of production, Hannah Minghella.

Theater audiences are currently re-discovering Annie on Broadway, thanks to the hit revival playing at the Palace Theatre. The upcoming film version is anticipating a late 2014 release.

Glee’s Jane Lynch To Join Annie on Broadway

Jane LynchAlready a respected comic actress and improv performer due to her extensive work in films like Christopher Guest’s Best in Show, and now a well-known TV star thanks to her role on Glee, Jane Lynch is soon to add Broadway to her resume. Later this spring, Lynch will make her Broadway debut in the well-received Broadway revival of the musical Annie, now playing at the Palace Theatre.

Jane Lynch will be replacing Tony winner Katie Finneran in the role of Miss Hannigan, the tyrannical orphanage matron who serves as little orphan Annie’s nemesis in the show. “Some may say I know a thing or two about playing intimidating authority figures,” stated Lynch. “So I am excited and honored to be making my Broadway debut with the wonderful Annie
company.”

Jane Lynch is scheduled to be in Annie for just eight weeks, from May 16 through July 24.

Broadway Shows To Feature in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A New York City holiday tradition for 86 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is also a great showcase for another NYC staple, Broadway musicals.  This year’s parade, which will air on NBC from 9am to noon on Thursday, November 22, is going to showcase five of this season’s Broadway musicals:  family-friendly shows Annie and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Christmas-themed Elf, the Matthew Broderick-starring Gershwin showcase Nice Work If You Can Get It, and the competitive cheerleading musical Bring It On.

Of course the hallmark of the Thanksgiving parade remains the massive balloons and parade floats that make their way along the parade route from the Upper West Side down to 34th Street.  But performances from Broadway shows add a little musical spark to the proceedings.  Given the broadcast’s enormous national ratings, this gives the featured shows tremendous exposure to potential ticket buyers.  Bring It On in particular, which has struggled to fill seats, is likely to enjoy a box office boost due to its on-air performance.

Annie Opens on Broadway

Celebrating its 35th anniversary as one of the musical theater world’s most beloved family musicals, Annie opens on Broadway tonight in a new revival production directed by James Lapine.  Based on the popular 1920s Little Orphan Annie comic strips, the tuneful musical about an optimistic, redhead orphan first came to Broadway in 1977 and went on to win Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book (written by The Producers and Hairspray scribe Thomas Meehan), and of course Best Score.  Written by lyricist Martin Charnin and composer Charles Strouse, Annie‘s memorable score includes several well-known songs, among them “Tomorrow,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” and “It’s a Hard-Knock Life”.

11-year old Lilla Crawford (who already has Broadway’s Billy Elliot on her resume) stars as Annie.  She is joined onstage by two-time Tony-winning funny lady Katie Finneran (Promises, Promises, Noises Off) as the comically villainous orphan matron Miss Hannigan and by Anthony Warlow, a musical theater star who hails from Australia, as Annie’s billionaire caretaker Daddy Warbucks.