The woman formerly known as Cookie Lyon is heading towards Easy Street. Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson will play Miss Hannigan in Annie Live! from NBC, premiering Thursday, December 2.
“Carol Burnett, who brought Miss Hannigan to life in the classic 1982 film, is someone I have studied and idolized for as long as I can remember,” Henson said in a statement. “So when the opportunity presented itself to me to join NBC and this incredible group of producers, I jumped! Carol, I hope to make you proud!
For those who don’t know Annie’s story, Miss Hannigan is in charge of the orphanage where the main character of the musical resides. The trap ? She hates little girls. She even sings so much in a stunning number called, what else, “Little Girls”.
“When we decided to bring back the holiday music tradition from NBC, we were looking for something that was critically acclaimed and universally loved – and while Annie certainly did, that applied to Taraji as well,” added Susan Rovner, President of Entertainment Content for NBCUniversal TV and Streaming. “Watching her play this iconic role will be a thrill that has all the makings of a must-see television.”
As for Henson’s nemesis, NBC has officially launched a nationwide search for a “soon to be discovered” young performer to fill the role of Annie. “The search for a young and future star of any ethnicity to bring optimism, courage, honesty and wisdom beyond their years in the classic role,” the network said in a statement, directing hopes towards an official casting site.
From Chloe Productions, Annie Live! is produced by Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Alex Rudzinski, the latter will co-direct with Lear deBessonet. Sergio Trujillo will choreograph, Paul Tazewell will design the costumes, Jason Sherwood will oversee production design and Stephen Oremus will be the musical director.
Based on the Little Orphan Annie comic, Annie’s original production spanned nearly six years (1977-1983) on Broadway, winning seven Tony Awards. He has since become a worldwide phenomenon, both on stage and on screen.
NBC’s previous live music productions included The Sound of Music Live! of 2013, Peter Pan Live! of 2014, The Wiz Live! 2015, Hairspray Live! of 2016! and the 2018 Jesus Christ Superstar in concert.
An additional cast will be announced in the coming months. For now, what do you think of Henson taking on this iconic role? Leave a comment with your thoughts on Annie Live! below.