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State Theatre New Jersey presents "Annie"

originally published: 01/11/2024

State Theatre New Jersey presents "Annie"

The Orphans in the North American Tour of Annie. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents an all-new tour of the iconic Tony® Award-winning musical Annie for four performances from February 2-4, 2024. The world's best-loved musical returns to State Theatre New Jersey with all your favorite songs including “Tomorrow,” “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” and “Maybe.”

“This show, with its iconic title character, continues to delight generations of theatre-lovers old and new by joyfully singing directly into the face of great adversity with perseverance, guts and guile,” said director Jenn Thompson. “For decades, Annie has continued to shine brightly, not only as an appeal to our better angels, but also as an example of the thrill of hope, hard-won: promising a better ‘Tomorrow’ not only for Annie herself, but for all who need her message now more than ever.”

Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner, and now the best-loved musical of all time is set to return in this new production—just as you remember it and just when we need it most. This celebration of family, optimism, and the American spirit remains the ultimate cure for all the hard knocks life throws your way.

Performances take place Friday, February 2 at 8:00pm; Saturday, February 3 at 2:00pm & 8:00m; and Sunday, February 4 at 1:00pm. Tickets range from $40-$105 and are available for purchase online or by calling State Theatre Guest Services at 732-246-SHOW (7469). State Theatre Guest Services, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open by phone and email only, Tuesday through Friday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. For in-person purchases, Guest Services is open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00pm to 4:30pm. Additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.



 
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Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as, “one of the best family musicals ever penned!”, Annie features a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony® Awards for their work.

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.”

Annie is directed by Jenn Thompson, who at the age of 10 stepped into the role of “Pepper” in the Original Broadway production, choreographed by Patricia Wilcox (Motown, A Night with Janis Joplin), music supervision by Matthew Smedal, with orchestrations by Dan DeLange. Talitha Fehr is the Music Coordinator and Jennifer Christina is the Music Director.

The design team includes scenic design by Wilson Chin (Pass Over), costume design by Alejo Vietti (Jersey Boys), based on lighting design by Philip Rosenberg, sound design by Ken Travis (Disney’s Aladdin), hair & wig design by Ashley Rae Callahan and casting by Paul Hardt of Hardt Casting, LLC.

In the title role of Annie is Rainier “Rainey” Treviño, an 11-year-old from Chesapeake, Virginia making her national tour debut. Returning principal cast includes Stefanie Londino as “Miss Hannigan,” Christopher Swan as “Oliver Warbucks,” Julia Nicole Hunter as “Grace,” and Mark Woodard as “FDR.” Also starring in the tour are Jeffrey T. Kelly as “Rooster” and Samantha Stevens as “Lily.” Seamus stars as “Sandy.” The Orphans are Savannah Austin, Arianna Guller, Avery Hope, Addie Jaymes, Kylie Noelle Patterson, and Jade Smith.

The featured ensemble includes Savannah Fisher, Jerquintez A. Gipson, Caroline Glazier, Chance K. Ingalls, Kaleb Jenkins, Jaelle Laguerre, Tony Mowatt, Ryan Mulvaney, Kaylie Mae Wallace, Callie Alexa, Brooke Olivia Gatto, and Trent Tyson.

State Theatre New Jersey presents "Annie"

By permission of Tribune Content Agency, LLC, Annie is based on Harold Gray's popular comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” which premiered in the 1920s in the New York Daily News and became one of the most widely read strips in the 30s and 40s.  Lyricist Martin Charnin bought a coffee table book called The Life and Hard Times of Little Orphan Annie as a Christmas gift for a friend in 1970. The clerk at the bookstore was too busy to wrap the book, so Charnin took the book home to wrap it.  Instead, he read it and fell in love with the strip and set out to secure the rights. The friend never got the book.



 
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The original production of Annie had its world premiere on Aug 10, 1976 at the Goodspeed Opera House (Michael J. Price, Executive Director) and opened on Broadway on April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre (Neil Simon theatre). It 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). It closed on Broadway after playing 2,377 performances. Annie was revived on Broadway in 1997 and again in 2014. It has been made into a film three times (1982, 1999, 2014) and was most recently featured as a live television production on NBC. The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever; it has been performed in 28 languages and has been running somewhere around the world for 45 years.

After major renovations, State Theatre New Jersey celebrated its 100th Anniversary in December 2021 in a fully renovated theater including newly renovated lobbies, all new restrooms, upgraded HVAC systems, a new elevator for access to all levels, and brand-new theater seats. Originally built as a silent film and vaudeville palace, State Theatre’s historic significance was honored by PBS by featuring it in its documentary series, Treasures of New Jersey, in the fall of 2018. “Treasures of New Jersey: State Theatre New Jersey” can be streamed online.

Today, State Theatre is the largest performing arts center in Central New Jersey and has welcomed more than six million people through its doors since reopening as a nonprofit performing arts center in 1988. State Theatre New Jersey is a cornerstone of the cultural vitality of Middlesex County and averages a total economic impact on New Brunswick and the surrounding area of more than $18 million a year. The mainstage programs have featured high-caliber artists such as Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Kevin Hart, Ringo Starr, Melissa Etheridge, John Leguizamo, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Program offerings include Broadway, orchestra, family, dance, comedy, rock/pop, jazz, Performances for Schools, and Sensory-Friendly Performances.

State Theatre New Jersey’s programs are made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.


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