Celina Smith will play the title role in NBC's upcoming "Annie Live!" musical production.
Smith joins a star-studded cast that already includes Taraji P. Henson and Harry Connick Jr.
"Annie Live!" will air on NBC on Thursday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET.
Celina Smith has been chosen to lead NBC's production of "Annie Live!"
Twelve-year-old Celina Smith will star in the title role of NBC's holiday presentation of "Annie Live!" the network announced today.
Smith is most known for her role as Rebecca on Tyler Perry's Nickelodeon show "Young Dylan" and has also played young Nala in the national live tour of "The Lion King."
"It's an honor to follow in the footsteps of the talented young ladies who have played Annie before me, and I can't wait to start this journey," Smith said in a statement about her casting.
Taraji P. Henson will play the evil Miss Hannigan.
As previously announced by NBC in June, Taraji P. Henson will play Annie's biggest adversary, the head of the orphanage that everyone loves to hate — Miss Hannigan.
Henson said in a statement that she's honored to step into a role once played by Carol Burnett (in the 1982 film), whom she's long admired. "When the opportunity came to me to join NBC and this incredible group of producers, I jumped! Carol, I hope to do you proud!"
Harry Connick Jr. will play Daddy Warbucks.
Harry Connick Jr. will play billionaire Sir Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, whose icy heart is melted by the exuberant Annie.
"Working alongside Taraji P. Henson is a dream come true," a statement from Connick read in part when the news was announced. "I love this show, and its musical message of love and hope couldn't come at a better time."
Nicole Scherzinger and Tituss Burgess will play key roles in the production.
Nicole Scherzinger will play Grace, Daddy Warbucks' chief-of-staff and eventual love interest who becomes the loving mother figure Annie deserves in her life. "The Masked Singer" judge told Entertainment Weekly she was "over-the-moon excited" to play the "neck" of the story (to Warbucks' "head") as the person who plants the seed to give Annie a home.
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" alum Tituss Burgess, who's also appearing in the Aretha Franklin biopic "Respect," will round out the key players in the cast playing Rooster Hannigan, Miss Hannigan's brother and evil sidekick. "I've always wanted to be a villain," he said in a statement announcing his casting.
"Annie Live!" arrives just in time for the holidays.
"Annie Live!" is coming to NBC on Thursday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET, timed for the holiday season.
The live production joins a growing list of musical adaptations to appear on NBC in recent years. Past shows include "The Sound of Music" starring Carrie Underwood, "Hairspray Live" featuring Kristen Chenoweth and Jennifer Hudson, and "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" starring John Legend and Sara Bareilles.
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