NBC reveals new photos of Taraji P. Henson in ‘Annie Live!’

Henson is joined by Celina Smith, of "Tyler Perry's Young Dylan", as Annie

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We’re just a few months away from Annie Live!, and NBC has released new promo pictures of Taraji P. Henson in the iconic role of Ms. Hannigan, as well as newbie Celina Smith as Annie.

Based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, Annie the musical has won seven Tony Awards since its 1977 Broadway release and seen numerous onscreen film adaptations. At the time of her casting announcement, Henson shared that she hoped to please Carol Burnett, who famously played the role of Miss Hannigan in the 1982 film.

“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,” Henson said. “So when the opportunity came to me to join NBC and this incredible group of producers, I jumped!”

73rd Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Taraji P. Henson attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Fans got their first look at Henson’s version of the iconic character via exclusive People Magazine photos. She’s wearing a green cardigan, makeup and holding a Christmas tree ornament. The actress is also seen flashing her pearly whites, something her character does often when Daddy Warbucks, the character who eventually adopts Annie, interacts with her.

Henson told People, “Playing the villain is always fun. With Miss Hannigan, there is so much to work with and dig deeper into. It’s just such a fun and iconic character to play.” She also spoke to how doing live theater is, in a way, Henson returning to her roots.

“There’s always some butterflies when it comes to doing live events, but that’s part of the fun,” she said. “My roots are in theater, so it’s just a great opportunity to jump back into what I grew up doing and it’s also a challenge, which I find exciting. As an artist, nerves and nervousness is natural. You need that energy: it means you are alive and in the moment. I welcome nervousness because that is energy to use. It is not a bad thing.”

BET Awards 2021 - Show
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 27: Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage at the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

Pictures of Celina Smith (Young Dylan, The Lion King National Tour) in the titular role have also been released. The shots feature Smith in the iconic red dress alongside Sandy, Annie’s pet dog. Check out the picture of Smith below:

Annie Live! airs Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

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