Are audiences ready for a black 'Annie'?

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We are all know the story, an adorable curly red haired orphan girl with freckles tries to escape from an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. She is adopted by the wealthy yet emotionless billionaire, ‘Daddy’ Warbucks, and ends up winning not only his heart but the audience’s as well.

The classic Broadway show Annie is set to be revived on Great White Way in 2012. Oh and did we mention? In a new twist, the role of Annie may be played by an African-American girl.

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In an article from Huffington Post, Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, says that if she had could do the production her way, Annie would be black.

“I’ve been trying to do this and I actually got Ben Vereen involved. I’ve had this idea for seven to eight years and I would love to do it,” said McArdle. She wants the lead role to feature a “new, young Whitney Houston” and would love to have Oprah Winfrey, who produced The Color Purple on Broadway, to produce the show.

This is not the first time that Annie would be embraced by black culture. Jay-Z made his own version of “Hard Knock Life” by incorporating the orphans’ lyrics, “Instead of treated, we get tricked. Instead of kisses, we get kicks. It’s a hard-knock life,” into the chorus of his blockbuster song of the same name..

According to S2S magazine, Jay-Z will be getting involved with the musical Annie once again as he will be collaborating with Will Smith in a remake of the film starring Willow Smith. Jay-Z , has experience in Broadway, for he produced plays such as Fela!.

The Los Angeles Times says that Jay-Z will oversee the music for the film through his label, Roc Nation, the label that signed Willow Smith. Overbrook Entertainment, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s production company will produce the film, and the remake will be at Columbia Pictures.

New York magazine reports that Will Smith and Jay-Z are also negotiating with Oscar-winning screenwriter and actress, Emma Thompson to become a part of the Annie project.

Willow Smith reportedly said, according to People magazine, that she wanted Brad Pitt to play the role of Daddy Warbucks.

There has not been any confirmation if Thompson has agreed to either produce or play role of the booze-loving orphanage director Miss. Hannigan yet. It has also not been said if the cast of Annie will feature a predominantly African-American cast or if the songs featured in the film will include songs from the original play. Perhaps we’ll know when the sun comes out…tomorrow.