Annie Live!

Here's Everything You Need to Know About ‘Annie Live!'

Celina Smith steps into the beloved musical's title role

The cast of "Annie Live!": Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Tituss Burgess as Rooster Hannigan, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace Farrell, Celina Smith as Annie, Harry Connick, Jr. as Daddy Warbucks
Paul Gilmore / NBC

Broadway’s musical masterpiece featuring the red-headed orphan and her golden dog, Sandy, is back, and guaranteed to get you fully dressed, putting a smile on your face right in time for this holiday season!

Following a successful string of live television musical events, NBC’s newest venture is none other than the Tony Award-winning production of "Annie Live!"
Now the production will join other NBC musicals, including "The Sound of Music," "Peter Pan," "The Wiz," "Hairspray" and more.

Here's what you need to know about the production, the latest of numerous "Annie" adaptations.

How can I watch ‘Annie Live!’?

The buzzy television musical will premiere Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC.

Who’s in the cast?

Titular character Annie will be played by 12-year-old Celina Smith. The upcoming special will join Smith’s list of credits, which also includes her role as young Nala in the national tour of "The Lion King," and her role as Rebecca in Tyler Perry’s "Young Dylan."

Back in August, she told TODAY how “excited” she is “for this journey to start.” “Just being a part of this production is an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to be here in New York,” Smith said.

Joining Smith is "Hidden Figures" star Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan. "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Tituss Burgess is set to play con artist Rooster and Harry Connick Jr. is Daddy Warbucks. Beloved Warbucks staffer Grace Farell will be played by lead Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger. Girlfriend of Rooster and sassy antagonist Lily St. Regis will be played by Megan Hilty. Over at the orphanage, Molly will be played by Felice Kakaletris, Kate will be played by Cate Elefante, July will be played by Sophie Knapp, Tessie will be played by Tessa Frascogna, Duffy will be played by Arwen Monzon-Sanders and Pepper will be played by Audrey Cymone.

Ensemble characters include Wendi Bergamini, Jadaya Bivins, Brittany Conigatti, Ben Davis, Zachary Downer, Karla Garcia, Kayla Goins, Luke Hawkins, Christopher Hernandez, Afra Hines, Trinity Inay, Jeff Kready, McKenzie Kurtz, Jenny LaRoche, Brandt Martinez, Morgan Marcell, Liz McCartney, Anastacia McCleskey, Giana Rice, Eliseo Roman, Lily Tamburo, Sherrod Tate, Kennedy Thompson, Tanairi Vazquez, Jacob Keith Watson, Alex Wong, and Corde Young.

Broadway’s first Annie, Andrea McArdle will also be joining the cast as first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Alan Toy will be playing FDR. Both FDR and the first lady are new additions to the "Annie" repertoire cast and production.

What’s 'Annie Live!' about?

The live adaption focuses on the famous storyline of "Annie," a timeless production that has managed to capture the hearts of viewers since 1977. And you can bet your bottom dollar that this version will be a hit.

"Annie" follows the story of orphan Annie, who finds herself in the hands of billionaire "Daddy" Warbucks after spending some time in an orphanage run by the widely disliked Miss Hannigan. After becoming suspicious about the origins and whereabouts of her birth parents, Warbucks initiates a search. While searching for her parents, Warbucks allows Annie to stay at his lavish mansion at the cost of helping him improve his public image. A not so lavish subplot, Miss Hannigan devises a plan with brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily to pose as Annie’s parents in an attempt to try and win the reward. Along for the ride are a group of orphans from the orphanage, an ensemble cast and of course, star of the show, Annie’s beloved dog, Sandy.

This story first appeared on More from TODAY:

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