You can bet your bottom dollar … that Annie is coming back! The beloved musical — which is the latest production to be given NBC’s live holiday show treatment — is set to air on Thursday, December 2.
Based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, the musical first opened on Broadway in 1977. The original production ran for nearly six years and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Besides its numerous stage runs all over the world, Annie was also adapted into a movie three times: in 1982, 1999 and 2014.
While the show’s namesake star has yet to be cast for the NBC special, other actors have already been selected to take on iconic roles in the December production. Taraji P. Henson, who is set to play mean orphanage headmistress Miss Hannigan, was the first major star to be confirmed.
“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,” NBCUniversal chairman Susan Rovner said in a statement earlier this month. “Watching her take on this iconic role will be a thrill that has all the makings of must-watch television.”
The second cast member announced was Harry Connick Jr., who revealed on Monday, June 28, that he’ll take on the role of billionaire Daddy Warbucks.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to play Daddy Warbucks in Annie Live! and working alongside Taraji P. Henson is a dream come true,” the singer said in a statement on Monday. “I love this show, and its musical message of love and hope couldn’t come at a better time.”
Annie tells the story of its titular character — an orphan most often portrayed with curly red hair — who has a feeling that her parents are still out there somewhere. After the rich Daddy Warbucks decides to let Annie live at his house to improve his image, he starts a search for her mom and dad.
Another major Annie-themed search is underway right now as well. Earlier this month, NBC announced they were launching a nationwide hunt for a “soon-to-be-discovered young star” to play the musical’s main character. Over the years, the part has been played by actresses such as Aileen Quinn (the 1982 Annie) and Quvenzhané Wallis (the 2014 star).
Scroll to discover all there is to know about the upcoming production: