Taraji P. Henson is going to be laying down the law at The Hudson St. Home for Girls this holiday season. NBC announced Tuesday that Henson will be playing the role of the infamous "queen of mean," Miss Hannigan, in their holiday production of Annie Live! The Academy Award-nominated actress will play opposite a soon-to-be-discovered young star as the network kicks off a nationwide casting search for the role of Annie, a role NBC says is as beloved as Miss Hannigan's.
"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."
Henson, who considers herself a fan of both the film and Carol Burnett's 1982 portrayal of the orphanage's head mistress, said she hopes to do the comedienne proud.
"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!” she said in a statement.
Auditions for the role of Annie will happen virtually, with NBC on the lookout for a young, future star of any ethnicity to bring optimism, spunk, honesty and a wisdom beyond their years to the classic role. Any families interested in having their child audition can visit NBC's casting site here.
Annie Live! will be produced by Chloe Productions with Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron, and Alex Rudzinsky serving as executive producers on the project and Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski sharing the directing duties. Choreography will be led by Sergio Trujillo while Paul Tazewell will design costumes. Jason Sherwood will orchestrate production design and Stephen Oremus will oversee the music direction.
The live production of the beloved Tony Award-winning hit musical will air Thursday, Dec. 2 on NBC.