In her acting career, Taraji P. Henson is known to play some beloved and funny characters in many of her films and TV shows. One thing many of her roles have in common is their fierce persona. Now Henson will get to bring that same energy into a different kind of role.
It was announced on Tuesday, June 8, that Henson has been cast to play Miss Hannigan in NBC’s next live musical play, “Annie Live!.” The production will air Thursday, Dec. 2. Miss Hannigan is the headmistress of an orphanage, which is ironic since she has a strong dislike for children. After one of her orphans named Annie runs away, she, her brother Rooster, and his girlfriend Lily team up to try to catch her.
In the original 1982 film, Miss Hannigan was playwd by actress-comedian Carol Burnett and now Henson says she is excited to try to fill those same shoes. She said Burnett, “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.”
Susan River, chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, shared how NBC decided to put on the Tony Award-winning musical and why the brand is excited to work with Henson. “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.” She added, “Watching her take on this iconic role will be a thrill that has all the makings of must-watch television.”
Fans and friends shared their reactions to the news on social media after the actress posted about it on Instagram. One person said, “You gone eat. Role was made for you.” Her close friend Tracie Jade Jackson wrote, “This is going to be SO FREAKIN’ GOOD and FUN!!!! The people ain’t ready!! .”
Henson is the first person to be cast in the live musical while NBC is still in search of who will take on the role of Annie.