Sun comes up on ‘Annie’ tour

COURTESY JOAN MARCUSGilgamesh Taggett plays Daddy Warbucks and Issie Swickle portrays the title character in the national tour of “Annie.”

Feel-good stories never seem to fall out of fashion, and Broadway’s “Annie” is no exception.

Opening in The City this week, the national tour of the award-winning musical is directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and still delighting audiences with time-honored songs like “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”

“The one thing that never becomes outdated is the message of hope, optimism and the importance of the love of a child,” says actor Gilgamesh Taggett, who plays Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks.

The musical is based on “Little Orphan Annie,” a comic strip that debuted in 1924 in the New York Daily News and remained popular for several decades. “Annie” follows the story of a plucky 11-year-old orphan who sets off in search of her parents and finds a stray dog – and love – along the way. The musical opened on Broadway in 1977; since then, it has been translated into 28 languages and performed in more than 30 countries.

Taggett, 45, enjoys playing the role of Warbucks and the journey of self-discovery once Annie enters his life.

Before being able to survive as an actor and pursue his love of storytelling, he worked in a number of jobs, including being a short order cook, a DJ, a brick layer and a screen printer. His advice to aspiring actors? Think twice.

“You really have to never give up,” he says. “It really requires an almost obsessive level of dedication.”

Although “Annie” is set during the Depression, the story strikes a chord with today’s audiences. Taggett says, “My hope is that people will reconnect with the sincerity of the show. This is my challenge to the cynic. Give ‘Annie’ a try.”

Rounding out the cast are Issie Swickle as Annie, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, and Sunny and Macy, two rescue dogs, sharing the role of the scruffy dog Sandy. The music is by Charles Strause and choreography by Liza Gennaro.

IF YOU GO

Annie

Presented by SHN

When: Wednesday through June 14

Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F.

Tickets: $40 to $160

Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

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