June 8 (UPI) — Taraji P. Henson has joined the cast of the NBC special Annie Live!
NBC confirmed Tuesday that Henson, 50, will play Miss Hannigan in the TV musical.
“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 television and streaming entertainment content chairman Susan Rovner said. “Watching her take on this iconic role will be a thrill that has all the makings of must-watch television.”
Annie Live! is based on the Broadway musical, which was inspired by the Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The musical was previously adapted as a 1982 musical film featuring Carol Burnett as Hannigan.
“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! Carol, I hope to do you proud.”
Annie was also adapted as a 1999 ABC musical featuring Kathy Bates as Hannigan and a 2014 film featuring Cameron Diaz as the character.
In Annie, the villainous Miss Hannigan runs the orphanage where the titular character resides.
Annie Live! will air late this year and will be NBC’s first live musical since Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, which aired in 2018.
Henson is best known for playing Cookie Lyon on Empire, which ended in April 2020 after six seasons on Fox.