Martha Raye was to play Annie in this production, but she had to withdraw from it two days before the opening due to illness (reported in some sources to have been severe appendicitis, leading to an appendectomy). Her understudy, Betty Jane Watson, replaced her.
According to a story in the issue of Variety dated March 12, 1958, Raye showed up at City Center on March 2 for the closing performance. She went backstage before the show and asked Watson to allow her to play the last performance. Watson assented, but City Center management nixed the idea as impractical. Raye went out front to watch the performance but she started to feel unwell and left about haflway through the second act. She has been released from the hosptial earlier that day.