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Taraji P. Henson To Play Miss Hannigan in NBC’s ‘Annie Live!’

Empire
(Image credit: Fox)

Taraji P. Henson will play the mean orphanage head Miss Hannigan when NBC stages and airs Annie Live! Dec. 2. Henson played Cookie Lyon on Empire and her filmwork includes Hustle & Flow and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  

“When we decided to bring back NBC’s holiday musical tradition, we were looking for something that was critically acclaimed and universally beloved – and while that’s definitely the case with Annie, it absolutely applies to Taraji as well,” said Susan Rovner, chairman, entertainment content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “Watching her take on this iconic role will be a thrill that has all the makings of must-watch television.” 

Also Read: NBC To Do 'Annie Live!' Later This Year

NBC has begun the casting search for the title role, looking for a “young, future star of any ethnicity to bring optimism, spunk, honesty and a wisdom beyond their years.” Auditions happen virtually and rehearsals are in New York this fall.  

“Carol Burnett, who brought Miss Hannigan to life in the classic 1982 movie, is someone I have studied and idolized as far back as I can remember,” said Henson. “So when the opportunity came to me to join NBC and this incredible group of producers, I jumped! Carol, I hope to do you proud!”

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. Paul Tazewell will design costumes. Jason Sherwood will orchestrate production design. Stephen Oremus will oversee the music direction. The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.

The Annie musical premiered on Broadway in 1977.

NBC staged The Sound of Music in 2013. Other live productions include Peter Pan Live! and The Wiz Live!.