The producers of the upcoming Annie revival know that whoever plays the mean orphanage lady Miss Hannigan has to be even more memorable than fright wigs and eyes without pupils.
Dorothy Loudon (above) originated the role and culminated her career with a brilliantly funny, witty performance that nabbed her a Tony.
Furthermore, Carol Burnett Hanniganed it up in the movie, Nell Carter played it in a Broadway revival, Kathy Bates did it on TV, and former sitcom stars have gone for broke in regional and/or dinner theater.
So who’ll dare to snarl about “Little Girls” this time?
Well, at last night’s Broadway Beauty Pageant, my fellow judge Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu, The Addams Family) told me they wouldn’t even let her audition!
Apparently they have their sights on certain names that they’re reaching out to before any possible auditions happen.
I hear they’ve offered the part to Tracey Ullman and Allison Janney — and they both turned it down!
And of course Rosie O’Donnell apparently wants it, especially since OWN has disowned her show (and some of her staffers would say she’s perfect).
The important thing to remember is that whoever gets this plum role needs to be deep-down appealing in her cartoony wiliness.
I say give it to Jackie even without an audition.
PS: The pageant (benefiting the Ali Forney Center) was a hoot, with Tovah Feldshuh once again making a terrific host and rolling with the punches all night, and Tonya Pinkins rounding out the judges’ panel with charm.
The winner, Andrew Chappelle from Mamma Mia!, clinched it when he was asked which theater legend of all-time he’d like to be.
“Bea Arthur!” he blurted.
She would have made an amazing Miss Hannigan.