"Tomorrow" is one of those songs that some people love and some people hate. Andrea McArdle has more right to hate it than most people. She's been singing it regularly for more than 40 years. When she performs a concert, everyone wants her to sing that song.
But she still loves it.
"I made my peace with that a long time ago," McArdle said in a phone interview from Orlando, where she was getting ready for a performance. "If I go to see Barry Manilow or Billy Joel or Lady Gaga or whoever there are certain songs I want to hear."
McArdle, who's now 50, is still best known for creating the role of "Annie" on Broadway in 1977. She's been singing "Tomorrow," that show's best-known song, ever since.
"A lot of great artists have signature songs," McArdle said. "I was lucky enough to get mine when I was a kid. But I'm ready for another one."
McArdle will be singing "Tomorrow" along with a smattering of other Broadway favorites and a lot of seasonal songs in Sarasota when she comes to the Historic Asolo Theater with a show called "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
Her appearance is part of the Artist Concerts Series, which has been bringing quality pop and classical artists to Sarasota for the past 18 years.
People still think of McArdle as Annie, but she's never stopped being busy with theater and music. On Broadway, she has been Fantine in "Les Miserables," Ashley in "Starlight Express," Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" and Margy in "State Fair." She appeared in the touring production of "Peter Pan" when Cathy Rigby took a break to do another project and she keeps up a busy concert schedule.
She's also preparing for a new cabaret show at Studio 54. She's developing that show with Broadway legend Tommy Tune.
"Lately I've been doing concerts and cabarets," McArdle said. "I'm dying to do another book show. I really miss it. I love singing, but I've always considered myself an actor who sings."
In the new cabaret she's working on with Tune, she takes a look back at her early career as a child star.
"There are pictures of me with Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, all sorts of people," she said. "I didn't realize at the time how amazing it was."
Because of he spectacular success of "Annie," she became cemented in people's minds as a very young person.
That helped her career by allowing her to portray young characters when she was pushing into middle-age.
"I was playing Belle when I was 37," she said. "I was getting roles that are usually played by ingénues."
Also appearing on the bill with McArdle in Sarasota will be baritone Todd Donovan, singer Maria Wirries, pianist Alan Corey and dancers from the Carreno Dance Festival. The Le Voci di Venezia Singers from Venice will perform Saturday and an ensemble from the Gloria Musicae Singers will perform Sunday.
Besides McArdle's signature song "Tomorrow," and an evening's worth of holiday songs, McArdle's set includes such Broadway standards as "Where Is Love?" from "Oliver!"
"I've always considered that a Christmas song," she said "It's doesn't mention Christmas, but it's full of the spirit."
Details: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21-22, Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets: $40, $45. Information: 941-306-1200, www.artistseriesconcerts.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.