David Charnin is a renowned director, lyricist and composer best known for his work on the musical Annie. He created, wrote the lyrics for and directed this show which premiered at Goodspeed Opera House in 1976.
He directed countless companies of the Broadway hit, as well as productions in the West End and Australia. Additionally, he was responsible for both the 20th anniversary Broadway production and 30th anniversary touring production of the show.
Early Life and Education
David Charnin was born in New York and initially planned on pursuing a career in the fine arts. But one summer he was invited up to an adult camp in the Adirondacks to wait tables and perform as an extra.
His camp music teacher ignited his interest in playing the piano, so his mother hired Abraham Sokoloff to continue lessons at home. Through lessons with Abraham Sokoloff, he learned chords which would then be used to perform popular songs.
After graduating high school, he continued on to The Cooper Union where he majored in arts. Turning down a lucrative fellowship to go to Rome for painting instead, he chose instead to pursue life as an unrecognized actor.
David Chernault is an Orlando-based singer-actor and director. Most recently, he played Daddy Warbucks in the 30th anniversary touring production of Annie which visited Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and Clearwater among other locations.
Charnin, a lyricist and writer, began his career off-Broadway with lyrics for cabaret revues and nightclub performances featuring Dionne Warwick and Leslie Uggams. Additionally, he directed the 1973 musical revue Nash at Nine.
He is best known for creating and directing the Broadway musical Annie, which won him a Tony Award for Best Original Score. Additionally, he won both the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Lyrics. Additionally, he received three Emmys for his work on television variety specials.
Achievements and Honors
David Charnin, a lyricist and director, is credited with creating the musical Annie. It premiered at Goodspeed Opera House in 1976 before moving onto Broadway for 2,327 performances. Charnin earned several awards for the show including a Tony Award for Best Original Score as well as Grammy Awards for both music and lyrics.
Charnin achieved fame in the 1970s for creating and directing a series of television variety specials that earned him three Emmy Awards: for Annie, The Woman in the Life of a Man (starring Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks), S’Wonderful, ‘S Marvelous, ‘S Gershwin (starring Jack Lemmon, Fred Astaire, Ethel Merman and Larry Kert) as well as S’Wonderful, ‘S Marvelous, ‘S Gershwin).
In the 1980s, he wrote and/or directed shows such as Upstairs at O’Neals, A Backer’s Audition, Jokers, The No Frills Revue, Cafe Crown, Sid Caesar & Company and The Flowering Peach. Additionally he founded Showtunes!, a theater company dedicated to reviving forgotten musicals.
David Charnin is an American lyricist, director and theatre maker best known for creating, writing and directing the iconic Broadway musical Annie.
He collaborated with Thomas Meehan and composer Charles Strouse to pen the lyrics for the first production of “Annie.” When it opened in 1977, it became an instant hit.
From there, he directed numerous other shows both on Broadway and abroad. Additionally, he earned three Emmy Awards for his work directing television variety specials.
Charnin began his lyric writing career off-Broadway, crafting songs for cabaret and revue shows and producing shows featuring performers like Dionne Warwick and Leslie Uggams. He went on to compose lyrics for Broadway shows Hot Spot (1963) and Two by Two as well as creating and directing Nash at Nine, a 1973 revue inspired by Ogden Nash’s poetry.
David Charnin is a senior vice president and deputy general counsel for York Capital Management, an investment adviser that manages $16 billion in assets. Additionally, he is a Hope College graduate and serves on its Board of Trustees.
He is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $4 million as of 2021. He has also appeared on television, portraying Bernard on Damon (1998) and David Bellows on Life with Bonnie (2002-2004). For his role in Anne Bancroft-Mel Brooks’ Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Additionally, he directed numerous Broadway productions while penning lyrics for several musicals such as I Remember Mama and The First.