Cheerios, rejoice! Jane Lynch, who won an Emmy as sharp-tongued cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Fox’s Glee, will make her Broadway debut this spring in the hit musical revival of Annie. The role seems like a perfect fit for the star: Miss Hannigan, the drunken and scheming head of young Annie’s orphanage who melodically complains about being surrounded by “little girls.” Lynch, an Illinois native who got her start in theater at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Second City, will appear in the musical for eight weeks only, from May 16 through July 14.
Two-time Tony-winner Katie Finneran, who has played Miss Hannigan since the new revival opened last November, was recently cast as Michael J. Fox’s sister in an untitled new NBC sitcom that has a 22-episode commitment for this fall. She’s expected to leave Annie sometime this spring to begin production on the single-camera series. Producers have yet to announce her final performance date, a decision that could impact her Tony chances in the Supporting Actress in a Musical category. Dorothy Loudon won a Tony playing Miss Hannigan (then considered a lead role) in the original 1977 production.
“Some may say I know a thing or two about playing intimidating authority figures,” Lynch said in a statement. “So I am excited and honored to be making my Broadway debut … and joining the pantheon of women who have taken on the great and irresistible role of wicked Miss Hannigan.”
Even without a Hollywood star, the Annie revival has been a consistent box office performer, often topping $1 million in weekly grosses. For the week ending Feb. 17, it took in $954,565, roughly 68 percent of its potential earnings for the Palace Theatre.
Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier
‘Les Mis’ returning to Broadway in 2014 as reimagined adaptation