NBC is back with another musical television special this December with the iconic Annie musical and a star-studded cast. The Cast Is Amazing NBC opened a nationwide casting call for Annie earlier this year. They found Celina Smith to be our newest Annie. Smith is a newcomer that got her start in musical theater as Young Nala in a national touring company of The Lion King. Joining her are Harry Connick, Jr. as Sir Oliver \u201cDaddy\u201d Warbucks and Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan. Connick, Jr. has been active in film, television, and musical theater since 1990. Henson recently wrapped her role on Empire in 2020 and said that this role is a dream come true. "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. 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." Miss Hannigan\u2019s brother, Rooster, will be brought to life by Tituss Burgess from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Burgess said he\u2019d always wanted to play a villain, and this is his chance. Megan Hilty will be playing his girlfriend, Lily St. Regis. Before Hilty was cast, Jane Krakowski held the role but stepped down in November because of health problems. Nicole Scherzinger will be playing Warbucks\u2019s personal secretary, Grace Farrell. Andrea McArdle, the original Broadway Annie, will be returning to the musical as former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Sandy the Dog will also be played by a dog named Sandy. I love that for her. NBC | Paul Gilmore The First Polio Survivor to Play FDR Alan Toy was recently announced to be playing former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Toy is a veteran screen performer and polio survivor. He will be the first polio survivor to portray FDR in film and on stage. \u201cFDR has always been a role model of accomplishment for me. I tip my hat to NBC and the producers of Annie Live! for authentically casting a person with a disability for this role. I'm proud to represent the community and hope that we will continue to see more of the Disability community in roles across entertainment media." Though FDR is only in the musical for a short time, his moments in the spotlight is memorable. It\u2019s the moment he unveils his plan for a welfare program with Warbucks help. Annie Live! Will Be Here in No Time NBC has put on numerous live musical specials near the holidays since 2013. The first of these specials was The Sound of Music Live! with Carrie Underwood. The most recent was in 2018, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, starring John Legend, Sara Bareilles, and Alice Cooper. Broadway\u2019s original Annie met the new Annie on the Today Show on November 12. They were promoting the event and Smith told McArdle that she couldn\u2019t believe she was working with her, let alone meeting her. \u201cOh, my gosh! It\u2019s so iconic,\u201d Smith said. \u201cI mean, I never thought that I would ever, ever meet you, but when I heard you were going to be playing Eleanor Roosevelt, I freaked out!\u201d https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v0yZCb3pj4E0 Though both actresses will be singing \u201cTomorrow\u201d with the rest of the cast, they both agree that \u201cI Think I\u2019m Gonna Like It Here\u201d is their favorite song from the show. The musical will be directed by executive producer Alex Rudzinki. Other executive producers are Robert Greenblatt and Neil Meron. Lear deBessonet will serve as the program director and Sergio Trujillo will be choreographing. Emilio Sosa and Jason Sherwood are costume designing and scenic designing the project. Stephen Oremus will be providing new orchestrations for the live event. The broadcast will be filmed at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, New York, on December 2, 2021.