I love you, tomorrow! And we’re loving Celina Smith, who is starring as Annie in Annie Live!

Set to premiere via NBC on Thursday, December 2, the musical adaption is sure to skyrocket the up-and-coming star right to fame. When she nabbed the coveted role, Celina, 13, was at home with her parents.

“I was in my parents’ room, I had basically just woke [sic] up and my team calls and goes, ‘What will you be doing this October?'” she recalled while chatting with J-14 exclusively. “‘You’re gonna be doing Annie Live!‘ I was so excited.”

The actress —who fans may recognize as Rebecca Wilson on Young Dylan — appeared on TODAY in August 2021 to announce her role. Prior to becoming a TV star, Celina actually had some prior musical experience. She was “about 9” when the acting bug bit her!

“It was right after I booked The Lion King [national tour] and I had originally just, kind of, went head forth into the industry not really knowing … anything,” the Atlanta native explained to J-14. “But when I booked Lion King, I was like, ‘Man, I could really do this on a professional level.'”

Over the years, the Annie musical — which was originally based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip — has been adapted into a film three times, in 1982, 1999 and 2014. Celina, for her part, is a huge fan of the 2014 version starring Quvenzhané Wallis.

“The 2014 version of Annie will always be my favorite version,” Celina gushed. “Especially because the lead role is somebody that looks like me so I can relate to it so much. When she’s in the helicopter flying around New York City, it’s just so cool to watch. All the amazing sites you can see while she’s flying around. It’s just amazing. So I really, really loved the 2014 version, but don’t get me wrong, all of them are amazing.”

When it came to talking about which song she was most excited to sing, the youngster holds two songs near and dear to her heart.

“I say that my favorite song is ‘Hard Knock Life.’ But I listened to the soundtrack again and realized I actually really like ‘N.Y.C,'” she shared. “It has such a New York City at night vibe.”

She continued, “I am looking forward to the big night! Especially since we are in such difficult times right now, it’s gonna be an amazing experience!”

Scroll through our gallery to meet the cast of Annie Live! and see photos of their costumes. 

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