Following a nationwide search, Celina Smith, who played Young Nala in the national tour of The Lion King, will play the title role in NBC’s upcoming holiday production of Annie Live!.
The 12-year-old actor, who can also be seen on the series Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan, will join the previously announced Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace, and Tituss Burgess as Rooster. The live musical event airs December 2 at 8 PM ET on NBC.
Annie Live! will be executive produced by Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron, and Alex Rudzinsky, with Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski sharing the directing duties. Choreography will be led by Sergio Trujillo with Jason Sherwood overseeing production design and Stephen Oremus orchestrating the music direction. Emilio Sosa will lead costume design.
Annie premiered on Broadway in 1977, featuring 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.
The live event is produced by Chloe Productions.