Just in time for Christmas, Annie opens at the Orpheum on December 13. The touring Broadway production promises to be a fresh version of the story generations know so well. The show is directed by the original lyricists and director Martin Charnin, with choreography by Liza Gennaro. While it is a self-described “new incarnation of the iconic original”, the show still features many of the most popular songs, including “Hard Knock Life” (remember when Jay-Z sampled it??) and “Tomorrow”, which is perhaps the most optimistic tune for 2016.
In anticipation of the show, I did a quick Q&A with actor Gilgamesh Taggett who plays Oliver Warbucks. Taggett hails from Cleveland and is an actor, teacher and director. This isn’t his first time in Annie, and as he explains, the joy and optimism from the show is contagious.
1) Hi Gilgamesh! Some readers may not know that this is your third year in Annie as Oliver Warbucks. How has your character developed throughout the years? Oliver is a tough nut to crack. He feels a surprising amount of emotions… he just chooses not to show them. Until, of course, this plucky redhead comes along. It has been an exciting journey finding the humanity in the character.
2) This version of Annie promises to be “a brand new incarnation of the iconic original.” What kind of changes can audience members look forward to? Well, for starters, there are some brand-new Martin Charnin lyrics to NYC. That entire number has been re-envisioned to show the first steps toward the family unit for Oliver, Grace and the staff. What really has been done with the show is the focus is back where it belongs. It’s the story of two orphans who find each other. And I think Martin’s direction and our interpretation of the characters really drives that home.
3) Who do you think will have more fun at this show: beloved old timers or children seeing the show for the first time? That is a contest too close to call. I think everyone will be able to take home with them a joy and renewed optimism afterward. I’d like to think that audience members young and old will be able to compare notes on what they found the most enjoyable.
4) What do you look forward to at every tour stop? The people. Everywhere we go there are wonderful and amazing people seeing the show, working the show… and the theaters! It has been my absolute pleasure to have performed in some of the most beautiful and iconic theaters throughout the country.
5) What has become your favorite number in this show? It used to be “Something Was Missing” but that was a bit self-serving, I suppose… I’ve begun to really fall in love with “Maybe.” It’s a bittersweet and heartbreaking song. Can’t stop humming it.
6) What do you think audiences will love most about this version of Annie? Does it speak to this generation of viewers? I think audiences will be able to feel a true connection with the story and the characters. Annie is a story that speaks to every generation because of its truthfulness. It has an honesty that shines through. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what generation you are from… love, optimism and never giving up are universal messages that we all can connect to.
7) What are you most looking forward to seeing while in Memphis ?The ghost of Elvis. TCB, baby.
8) Why should audiences come see Annie for the holiday season? Why should you open a present on Christmas morning? It’s silly not to. Annie is a story that was consistently and successfully delighted audiences for 40 years. What do you have to lose?
Tickets for Annie are on sale now and performance dates are listed below:
VENUE: Orpheum Theatre, 203 S. Main Street, Memphis TN 38103
DATES: December 13 – 18, 2016
• Tuesday, December 13, 2016 7:30 PM
• Wednesday, December 14, 2016 7:30 PM
• Thursday, December 15, 2016 7:30 PM
• Friday, December 16, 2016 8:00 PM
• Saturday, December 17, 2016 2:00 PM
• Saturday, December 17, 2016 8:00 PM
• Sunday, December 18, 2016 1:00 PM
• Sunday, December 18, 2016 6:30 PM
BOX OFFICE: 901.525.3000