She’s a superstar! Celina Smith is set to star as Annie in the upcoming production of NBC’s Annie Live!
“We were in my mom’s room and my team called and they were like, ‘What are you going to be doing this October?’” Celina said during her appearance on the morning show. “I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ And then they were like, ‘You’re going to be in New York doing Annie Live! this October.’ And I screamed!”
The actress will perform the musical’s classic hits, like “Maybe,” “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” alongside some other talented stars, including Taraji P. Henson playing the ruthless Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. playing Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger playing Grace and Tituss Burgess playing the con artist Rooster. Annie Live! is set to premiere on NBC on Thursday, December 2.
“It’s just so amazing being able to perform with such an iconic cast, and I’m just so excited for this journey to start,” Celina also said during her TODAY appearance. “Just being a part of this production is an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to be here in New York.”
Broadway fans know, that Annie tells the story of a young orphan living in New York City who is taken in by a billionaire after being tormented by the evil Miss Hannigan, who is in charge of Annie’s orphanage and forces the kids to clean the building all day. After being helped by a kind-hearted employee named Grace, Annie (and her dog, Sandy) gets adopted by the wealthy Daddy Warbucks.
“It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of the talented young ladies who have played Annie before me and I can’t wait to start this journey,” Celina said in a statement, referring to Aileen Quinn and Quvenzhané Wallis, who starred in past film adaptations of the musical. Aside from the multiple film versions, Annie also opened on Broadway in 1977 with two revivals in 1997 and 2012.
Prior to being cast as the iconic orphan, Celina proved that she’s a triple threat while starring as Young Nala during The Lion King national tour. Then, she went on to star in Young Dylan, which premiered on Nickelodeon in 2020.
Scroll through our gallery for everything you need to know about Annie Live! star Celina.
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