Martin Charnin, creator of musical 'Annie' dies at 84

Charnin worked on a number of other Broadway productions including “Bar Mitzvah Boy,” “Remember Mama,” “The First,” and “A Little Family Business.”

July 8, 2019 17:37
1 minute read.
Martin Charnin at the Philadelphia Music Alliance 2015 Walk Of Fame Gala at the Fillmore Philadelphi

Martin Charnin at the Philadelphia Music Alliance 2015 Walk Of Fame Gala at the Fillmore Philadelphia on October 26, 2015. (photo credit: GILBERT CARRASQUILLO/GETTY IMAGES)


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Martin Charnin, a Broadway lyricist who won a Tony Award for the score of the classic musical Annie, has died at 84. He passed away Saturday at a White Plains, New York, hospital, after suffering a minor heart attack.

Charnin started his career playing a Jet in the legendary Broadway musical West Side Story, but he went on to work behind the scenes as a director and writer. He created Annie with songwriter Charles Strouse and book writer Thomas Meehan in 1977, and the show won a Tony for Best Musical and ran more than 2,000 performances. It was performed in countless revivals, touring companies and school plays as well.

Charnin worked on a number of other Broadway productions including Bar Mitzvah Boy, Remember Mama, The First, A Little Family Business, Cafe Crown, Sid Caesar & Company and The Flowering Peach.

His daughter, Sasha Charnin Morrison, author of Secrets of Stylists, quoted some of her father’s best known and most optimistic lyrics on her Instagram account in a tribute to him: “‘The sun will come out tomorrow’ and we always believed.”

“It was an honor to know you, to work for you, to want to make you proud and to sing your lyrics and tell your story,” she wrote. “You have made countless audiences smile, laugh and cry and the American musical will forever be better for your contributions. ‘Maybe now it’s time and maybe when I wake, they’ll be there calling me baby, maybe’ RIP Martin Charnin.”

Charnin told the Associated Press in 2015 that the optimism in the songs he wrote for Annie was actually meant to inspire audiences during a rough period.

“We were living in a really tough time,” he said. “Right in the middle of Nixon. Right in the middle of Vietnam. There was an almost-recession. There was a lot of unrest in the country, and you can always feel it and a lot of depression – emotional depression, financial depression. We wanted to be the tap on the shoulder that said to everyone, ‘It’ll be better.’”

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