Annie, Starring Heidi Gray, Comes to the National Theatre This Spring; Cast Announced!

Mar 17, 2016

Leapin' lizards! With more than 400 performances under her belt, the new U.S. National Tour of ANNIE will play the National Theatre for one week only, March 15 - 20, 2016. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of ANNIE is a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic 1977 Tony Award-winning original.

Tickets are on sale now and start at $48 plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available at the National Theatre box office, online at, or by calling(800) 514-3849. A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of best available tickets at $25 each -- cash only -- will be held at the theater two hours before each performance. Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling (202) 628-6161 ext. 227.

After touring the production to 41 cities across the nation, Troika Entertainment, LLC is pleased to announce select new lead cast members for the 2016 leg of the tour.

The new production features a 25-member company: newly cast in the title role of ANNIE is Heidi Gray, an 11-year-old actress from the Augusta, GA area, making her tour debut. Also new to the Orphanage are Sage Bentley as Tessie, Bridget Carly Marsh as July, Annabelle Wachtel as Molly, and Casey Watkins as Duffy. They join Molly Rose Meredith as Pepper, and Emily Moreland as Kate. Chloe Tiso joins the company as Grace Farrell.

Continuing to star in the company are Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily, andJeffrey B. Duncan as FDR. Sunny and Macy, rescue terrier mixes, star as Sandy.

The featured ensemble includes Chelsey Lynn Alfredo, Jonathan Cobrda, Ruby Day, Todd Fenstermaker, Madisen Johnson, Brianne Kennedy, Tyler Lenhart, Brendan Malafronte, Theresa Rowley, Kelsey Shaw, Connor Simpson, and Daniel Forest Sullivan.

ANNIE has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards for their work. Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who incorporates selections from her father Peter Gennaro's 1977 Tony Award-winning choreography.

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 first national touring company of ANNIE played National Theatre for 18 weeks in 1978. The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever. It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, has been performed in 28 languages, and has been running somewhere around the world for 37 years.

The beloved 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 celebrated design team includes scenic design by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One, The Scottsboro Boys, Rock of Ages), costume design by Costume Designer's Guild Award winner Suzy Benzinger (Blue Jasmine, Movin' Out, Miss Saigon), lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington (Chicago, ANNIE, White Christmas), and sound design by Tony Award nominee Peter Hylenski (Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway, Motown). The lovable mutt "Sandy" is once again trained by Tony Award Honoree William Berloni (ANNIE, A Christmas Story, Legally Blonde). Musical supervision and additional orchestrations are by Keith Levenson (ANNIE, She Loves Me, Dreamgirls). Casting is by Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, Joy Dewing Casting (Soul Doctor, Wonderland, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). The tour is produced by TROIKA Entertainment, LLC.

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The National Theatre opened in 1835 and is one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the nation. Over the years, the National, located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., has hosted a multitude of memorable events, including the pre-Broadway presentations of the musicals Show Boat; Hello, Dolly!; and West Side Story. Many of the world's greatest performers have graced the National Theatre stage including Angela Lansbury, Robert Redford, George C. Scott, Will Rogers, Helen Hayes, James Earl Jones, Eartha Kitt, Sir Laurence Olivier, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Katherine Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Ian McKellen, Debbie Reynolds, and Audrey Hepburn. National Theatre Group oversees the programming for and management of the theater.


HEIDI GRAY (ANNIE) Age 11. National Tour debut! Wholehearted thanks; my family, hometown CSRA friends, Augusta Players, Augusta West Dance, VOCE, Encompass Arts MGMT, Joy Dewing, TROIKA Entertainment, Debi Ballas, Richard Justice, Lori Van Lenten, Rebecca Brune, Stacy Reynolds, Butler and Reagan families.

LYNN ANDREWS (Miss Hannigan) Favorite credits include Chicago (Mama Morton), Romeo & Juliet (Nurse) and the 30th Anniversary tour of ANNIE (Miss Hannigan). Lynn is one third of the girl group The Shirtwaist Sisters, often described as what would happen if Hank Williams, The Andrews Sisters and Beyonce had a sleepover: sweet, sultry and sometimes salty. Their original song "Honey, Put the Coffee Pot On" was a featured entry in NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Contest (January 2015). Find and follow Lynn at:

GILGAMESH TAGGETT (Oliver Warbucks) is thrilled to reprise "Daddy" after two seasons in Cleveland. Other favorite roles: Father (Children of Eden), Franz Liebkind (The Producers), Billy Flynn (Chicago) and Jud Fry (Oklahoma). Thanks to Martin, my road family and love to Allison.

CHLOE TISO (Grace Farrell) Regional: On the Town (Barrington Stage Co.), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Prather Entertainment), The Drowsy Chaperone: Janet (New London Barn Playhouse), White Christmas (Northern Stage), Tim and Scrooge (Westchester Broadway Theatre). BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College.

GARRETT DEAGON (Rooster Hannigan) is a Southern California native who's cockadoodle-doin' it. Favorite roles: Burrs (The Wild Party), Perchick (Fiddler on the Roof), Macheath (The Threepenny Opera) and Jesus (Reefer Madness). BFA: University of California, Irvine. Thanks and love to my family.

LUCY WERNER (Lily, U/S Miss Hannigan) is thrilled to travel on her first tour! Favorite credits include Logaine (Spelling Bee), Queenie (Wild Party), Carmen (Fame), and Hershey Park. Huge thanks to her beautiful family and family at Elon University!

JEFFREY B. DUNCAN (FDR, U/S Oliver Warbucks) returns for his sixth National Tour of ANNIE. Tours include Oklahoma! (Pa Carnes) and Ragtime (Henry Ford). Jeff would like to thank God, his family, friends, and Martin Charnin for all they have done and the love they give.

MARTIN CHARNIN (Director, Lyrics) is celebrating his 58th year in the entertainment industry, which began in 1957 when he created the role of Big Deal (one of Jerome Robbins' authentic juvenile delinquents) in the original company of West Side Story. He played the role for exactly 1,000 performances. Since then, he has been involved in over 145 theatrical, television, film, and night club productions as a director, producer, composer, or lyricist. He is one of the dozen people who have won Emmys, Tonys and Grammys, and the Peabody Award for Broadcasting. ANNIE, which came to Broadway in 1977, originally ran for 2,377 performances, and has been revived there three times. He has directed ANNIE 19 times (after directing the original production in New York), in London, Montreal, Amsterdam, and Melbourne as well as ANNIE's 14 national U.S. companies. He has collaborated with Charles Strouse, Vernon Duke, Marvin Hamlisch, Mary Rodgers, and twice with Richard Rodgers on I Remember Mama and Two by Two. He has written for, or directed, Fred Astaire, Ethel Merman, Jack Lemmon, Ann-Margaret, Jack Benny, Anne Bancroft, Betty Hutton, Sutton Foster, Sarah Jessica Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bebe Neuwirth, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Larry Kert, Chita Rivera, Jane Lynch, Tony Bennett, Jason Alexander, and Jay-Z, among countless others, and for his wife, Shelly Burch (who originated a leading role in the original company of Nine), and who opened her new one-woman-show at the famed Broadway Bistro, 54 Below, in 2014. He currently has 4 new musicals (Wallenberg, Love is Love, Robin Hood, Something Funny's Going On) that are "circling over Kennedy" getting ready for production in 2016 and 2017, in New York, including a revival of ANNIE Warbucks, which opened Off-Broadway in New York in 1993 and will move to Broadway in 2016. Last year, "Tomorrow" from ANNIE became one of the 100 most performed musical numbers in the last century.

THOMAS MEEHAN (Book) is a three-time Tony Award-winning book writer for the Broadways musicals ANNIE, The Producers and Hairspray. In addition, he has written the books of a dozen or so other Broadway musicals, including Richard Rodgers' I Remember Mama, Cry-Baby, Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, Elf, Chaplin and most recentlyRocky (with Sylvester Stallone). A long-time contributor of humor pieces to The New Yorker magazine and an Emmy Award-winning TV comedy writer, he has also written a number of screenplays, most notably for To Be or Not to Be and Spaceballs. He is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild.

CHARLES STROUSE (Music) A graduate of New York's P.S. 87, Townsend Harris H.S., and the Eastman School of Music, Charles has studied composition with Aaron Copland, Arthur Berger, and David Diamond in the US and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Charles has composed copious chamber music, two piano concertos, a string quartet and two operas. After which, being broke like most composers, he was a rehearsal pianist and dance arranger for many shows, played in bar rooms, ballet classes, at weddings and strip joints (a particular boon for one who was to write the music for the film The Night They Raided Minsky's). One morning in 1960 he awoke to find he had written (with Lee Adams and Mike Stewart) Bye Bye Birdie (Tony Award), which is still among the most performed musicals in America, followed by Golden Boy with Sammy Davis, Jr. (Tony Nomination). Then came, Applause (Tony Award), It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman, Rags (Tony Nomination) and ANNIE (Tony Award). In-between, there have been scores for movies including Bonnie and Clyde and All Dogs Go to Heaven. Throughout his career, Charles has received the Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Frederick Lowe and the Leonard Bernstein Awards for musical achievement. He is married to director/choreographer Barbara Siman and is the father of Benjamin (attorney, author, composer), Nicholas (psychotherapist), Victoria (screen writer) and William (also a screen writer.)

LIZA GENNARO (Choreographer) choreographed the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of The Most Happy Fella directed by Gerald Gutierrez, and the Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress starring Sarah Jessica Parker. She has choreographed Off-Broadway and in regional theaters across America including: Roundabout Theatre, Actor's Theatre Of Louisville, The Old Globe, Hartford Stage, Guthrie Theater, The Goodspeed Opera House, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Paper Mill Playhouse and The St. Louis "Muny" Opera. She collaborated with Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati on their chamber musical Loving, Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein for the About Face Theater in Chicago. Last year she choreographed Elf: The Musical at Pioneer Theatre, the 20th Anniversary Concert of Titanic: The Musical at Avery Fisher Hall, and she created a dance-pantomime of A Charlie Brown Christmas for the New York Pops Christmas Concert at Carnegie Hall. She is a member of the Tony Award Nominating Committee and on the Executive Board of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society. Liza has taught at Barnard College, Princeton University, Yale University and is currently on faculty at Indiana University. Her essay, "Evolution of Dance in the Golden Era of the American 'Book Musical'" appears in The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical.