More like Zaddy Warbucks!
NBC's new upcoming live musical Annie Live! officially announced on Monday, June 28 that Harry Connick Jr. will be playing the beloved role of Sir Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, the eccentric billionaire who adopts little orphan Annie. Connick, an Emmy and Grammy Award winner and Tony Award nominee, joins Taraji B. Henson for the highly-anticipated live production of Annie. Henson is slated to portray villainous orphanage caretaker Miss Hannigan.
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to play Daddy Warbucks in Annie Live! and working alongside Taraji P. Henson is a dream come true," Connick said in a press statement today. "I love this show, and its musical message of love and hope couldn't come at a better time."
The live production of the Tony-winning hit musical, inspired by the "Little Orphan Annie" 1924 comic strip, will air Thursday, Dec. 2 on NBC. The Annie musical first premiered on Broadway in 1977.
Connick has known for films like Hope Floats and Independence Day. A true triple threat, Connick launched national daytime television talk show Harry in 2016, winning 11 Daytime Emmy nominations, as well as his own Broadway show in 2019, Harry Connick, Jr.: A Celebration of Cole Porter that he wrote and directed.
Connick and Henson are just the latest A-listers to star in the new tradition of NBC live musicals. Last year's holiday production of Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical starred Matthew Morrison, while 2013's The Sound of Music featured Carrie Underwood.
"Now that the amazing Harry Connick Jr. is set to embody Daddy Warbucks, we look forward to shaping the iconic role to tap Harry's immense skill set as a multi-talented performer," Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Live Events, Specials and E! News, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming said. "He and Taraji P. Henson will anchor the rest of the cast and we can't wait to see their on-stage dynamic in our version of Annie."
Annie Live! executive producer Robert Greenblatt added, "We are thrilled to have Harry Connick Jr. playing Daddy Warbucks. He's a true entertainer who sings—and dances—with the best of them, and he will bring a completely fresh approach to this character. And he will give Taraji P. Henson‘s Miss Hannigan a run for her money for Annie!"
The titular role of Annie has yet to be cast. NBC is opting for a nation-wide search for an up-and-coming talent; interested families can apply here to upload an audition. Rehearsals will be in October and November in New York.
Annie Live! will be executive produced by Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Alex Rudzinsky, with Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski sharing the directing duties. Choreography will be led by Sergio Trujillo. Paul Tazewell will design costumes and Jason Sherwood will oversee production design. Stephen Oremus will orchestrate the music direction. The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
Annie Live! will air Thursday, Dec. 2 on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)