Anne Hathaway in <i>Carnival</i>
Anne Hathaway in Carnival
© Gerry Goodstein

Today, she is an Academy Award nominee, but we won't forget her as the ingénue of Carnival! In 2002, Anne Hathaway played what Ben Brantley called the "unworldly heroine ever in a Broadway musical," the naïve Lili, in the Encores! production of Carnival!, directed by Kathleen Marshall. The production also starred Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Paul Berthalet), Douglas Sills (Marco), Debbie Gravitte (Rosalie), David Costabile (Jacquot) and David Margulies (Schlegel).

Produced by David Merrick, Carnival! originally opened on Broadway in 1961, with songs by Bob Merrill and a book by Michael Stewart, and was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. (Yes, we thought that, too.) Hathaway's character, Lili, comes to the carnival in search of a job, and becomes the object of affection of Marco the Magnificent and Paul Berthalet. She eventually joins Paul's puppet act.

This 2002 production was Hathaway's New York stage debut and came on the heels of her breakout role in The Princess Diaries. The aim was to transfer Carnival! to Broadway, but it never happened. Hathaway did, however, go on to co-star in the Public Theater's Twelfth Night in 2009. And, some movies. Or so we hear. Though we hope she'll come back to the stage soon … with or without the puppets.