American Theatre: Annie Golden Chats About Working with Joe Iconis

Annie Golden in "Broadway Bounty Hunter" at Barrington Stage Company. (Photo by Scott Barrow)

Annie Golden in "Broadway Bounty Hunter" at Barrington Stage Company. (Photo by Scott Barrow)

Annie Golden Is on a Mission in "Broadway Bounty Hunter" | American Theatre

Annie Golden calls herself the “flower child who will not wilt,” and she has continued to blossom since she landed on the scene as Jeanie in the 1979 Hair film. She’s appeared on Broadway in On the Town, Xanadu, and Violet, but these days most people recognize her as the almost silent inmate Norma from the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” Her unrelenting spirit is the inspiration for Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin, and Jason Williams’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, a musical about a down-on-her-luck actress of a certain age who refuses to back down. The team wrote the tuner, which is inspired by 1970s blaxploitation movies, for Golden, and she plays the title role at Barrington Stage Company Aug. 13-Sept. 4.

How did you meet Joe Iconis?

The last stage performance Eartha Kitt ever did was in a show that I was the title role of, Mimi le Duck. And one of our producers, Marie Costanza, is in administration over at Tisch [at New York University]. Apparently for your thesis presentation in the musical theatre writing program over at NYU, you do a musical in the black box theatre. A project called The Black Suits [by Iconis] passed Marie’s desk, and he had said an “Annie Golden type” for the neighbor lady, Mrs. Werring. Marie read it and said to Joe, “Well, why don’t you ask her? Write her a letter inviting her with a CD of the music—because she doesn’t read music—with Mrs. Werring’s songs.” That was eight years ago, and I’ve been doing it ever since. No one else has ever played Mrs. Werring. And yes, I still do have the CD and the hand-written note he sent me.

What was your reaction when Joe and his friends said they wanted to write a musical about a bounty hunter for you?

I was like, “Wait, what?” And then they told me the concept. It’s just so superhero-cartoon-like—it’s Annie Golden as Pam Grier in Foxy Brown. Only the task at hand is not a kidnapping or a ransom or a drug dealer or a cartel to take down—it’s just to expose injustice and cruel and unusual punishment of Broadway producers. It’s really awesome. It speaks some truths in a humorous tongue–in-cheek way.

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