Olivier nominee Nicole Scherzinger has joined the cast of Annie Live! as Grace, Daddy Warbucks' chief of staff. Best known as the leader of the Pussycat Dolls, the pop star joins the previously announced Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan and Harry Connick, Jr., as Daddy Warbucks. A nationwide search continues for a young actor to play the title role in the NBC small screen presentation.
"With the predicament of children now more than ever needing homes and support and love, I'm really honored to be able to play Grace," she told Entertainment Weekly. "Because even though Daddy Warbucks is the head, I'm the neck, and I'm the one who gives him the idea [to adopt Annie]."
Scherzinger made her West End debut in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats as Grizabella, scoring a nod for theatre's highest honor in the U.K. She currently serves as a judge on FOX's The Masked Singer.
City Center Encores Artistic Director Lear deBessonet will helm the broadcast, leading a creative team that includes choreographer Sergio Trujillo, costume designer Paul Tazewell, and scenic designer Jason Sherwood. Alex Rudzinski will be the production's live television director and executive producer. Also serving as executive producer are former NBC Chair Robert Greenblatt and Neil Meron. The event is produced by Chloe Productions.
Annie, which premiered on Broadway in 1977, features a score by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan. Based on the Depression-era newspaper comic series, the musical centers on its plucky title character and her journey from orphanage to the opulent Warbucks mansion.