Bet your bottom dollar Annie Live! will be one for the books.
The highly-anticipated NBC live musical officially announced the casting of the titular role on Aug. 24 after a nation-wide search. Broadway alum Celina Smith landed the famed little orphan Annie character, after playing Young Nala in the national touring company of The Lion King and appearing on the TV series Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan.
“Already a triple threat at the age of 12, Smith will light up center stage,” NBC said in a press statement. The all-star cast already includes Taraji P. Henson as orphanage villain Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as billionaire Sir Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Warbucks’ secretary Grace and Tituss Burgess as Rooster.
Smith stated, “It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of the talented young ladies who have played Annie before me and I can’t wait to start this journey.” The Atlanta-based pre-teen will sing Tony Award-winning hits like “Maybe,” “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life” during the NBC live production, airing Thursday, Dec. 2.