Music Director Caryl Fantel on Annie at The 5th

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Caryl Fantel returns to The 5th Avenue Theatre as the Music Director of Annie this holiday season! She made her 5th Avenue Theatre debut last season as the Music Director of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn and we are so thrilled to work with her again! We recently caught up with Caryl and caught a few of her thoughts on our holiday hit, Annie!

What is your personal experience with Annie?
I have played music from Annie throughout most of my professional career and finally got the opportunity to work on a production in Florida this past spring, so this production is my second Annie this year!

What’s your favorite thing about doing Annie at the holidays?
There is comfort in the familiar and in tradition, and there’s no better tradition than bringing your family to see a musical at The 5th, and no better musical than Annie to help people experience the joy and comfort of a familiar story and iconic music, especially at holiday time.

What do you think makes Annie such a timeless and beloved story?
The appeal of Annie is timeless because its score contains melodies that grab you and stay with you, and its characters and relationships are so clearly drawn. It’s easy to understand their situations and root for the good guys.

The music in Annie is absolutely iconic. How do you approach giving the audience what they love while still creating something fresh and current?
The music of Annie has assumed a prominent place in popular culture. Except for maybe the youngest audience members, everyone who sees our production will almost certainly have heard the song “Tomorrow” before. Our team is committed to telling the story of this show and these characters clearly and with humanity, not simply as if they were inspired by comic strip characters. 

We’ve had such thrilling feedback about the casting for this show. What excites you about this cast?
I am thrilled to have such a diverse and incredibly talented cast for this production, and I appreciate that The 5th and our creative team have made it a priority to have a cast that represents the true diversity of our nation.

This production is a bit special in that it there is an all-female creative team (director, choreographer, music director, and associates). Is that exciting to you? Do you think that all-female energy brings anything special this production?
It’s been a joy to be part of an all-female creative team, as that rarely happens in professional musical theatre. Every creative team has its own dynamic, and having an all-female team for this production has been a refreshing experience. Each of us has our own voice yet we have come together to tell this simple yet powerful story as if it’s being told for the first time. I applaud The 5th for making this possible, and I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to work with such a collaborative group of bright, creative and inspiring female artists.

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