In 1976, Goodspeed premiered the new musical Annie, inspired by the Depression-era comic strip "Little Orphan Annie." Following revisions from its regional run, the musical opened on Broadway on April 21, 1977, to warm reviews. Critic Clive Barnes called it "an intensely likable musical" with "a rare kind of gutsy charm."
Andrea McArdle and Reid Shelton earned Tony nominations for their performances as Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and Dorothy Loudon won for her portrayal of Miss Hannigan. The production earned seven Tonys, including Best Musical of 1977.