Martin Charnin was an American lyricist, writer, and theatre director.
Although primarily known for his work behind the scenes, Charnin got his start on stage as Big Deal, a member of the Jets, who face off against the Sharks, a rival gang, in the original 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story.
He won an Emmy Award for producing Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man (1970), a musical special starring Anne Bancroft, and two more as the producer and co-director of ’S Wonderful, ’S Marvelous, ’S Gershwin (1972), a tribute to the songs of George and Ira Gershwin.
Charnin was best known for creating and directing the Broadway musical Annie, which opened on Broadway in April 1977 and ran for 2,377 performances. The musical received 10 Tony nominations and won seven, including one for best musical.
He continued to direct on Broadway, and returned regularly to direct the original Annie, most recently on a national tour from 2014 to 2015.
Charnin died July 6, 2019, in White Plains, New York. He was 84.