Show History



Annie Warbucks is a direct sequel to the smash hit musical Annie, picking up right from where the latter show ends. Like its predecessor, the musical pulls its characters from the comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray. The production team behind Annie--composer Charles Strouse, lyricist Martin Charnin, and book writer Thomas Meehan--reunited to produce the sequel.

The trio had attempted an Annie sequel a few years prior, originally entitled Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge, but it opened to negative reviews and abandoned plans of going to Broadway. Despite years of subsequent workshopping, the idea was scrapped; the cast and character changes were major, the largest cutting Miss Hannigan out of the show completely and replacing her with a new villain.


Beginning in the 1990s, Annie Warbucks was developed through several workshops at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut. The musical then played several out-of-town tryouts, starting at the Marriott Lincolnshire in Chicago from February through April of 1992 and then the Drury Lane in Oakbrook, Illinois, followed by a five city United States tour in October 1992.

Following the tour, producers planned for Annie Warbucks to open on Broadway but when a major investor pulled out, those plans were delayed. During the delay, several characters were cut and the budget was reduced. An Off-Broadway production eventually opened on August 9, 1993 at the Variety Arts Theatre in the East Village. The cast included Harve Presnell as Warbucks, Donna McKechnie as Sheila Kelly, and Kathryn Zaremba in the title role. The show broke all off-Broadway box office records for the time, running for over 200 performances.

From there, the producers considered moving the show to Broadway and secured $2.5 million for a move but discovered they couldn't make the move in time to be eligible for Tony Award consideration; a provision in the Tony rules required that a show had to transfer to a Tony-eligible theatre within 30 weeks of its original opening in order to qualify for any nominations. The $2.5 million investment was lost and definitively ended all future plans of a Broadway engagement.


  • Annie Warbucks began life as Annie 2: Miss Hannigan s Revenge (the marquee had even been put up at the Marquis Theatre in anticipation of the moppet's return to Broadway).