Annie Live!: Grade NBC's Latest Musical

NBC this Thursday night added to its repertoire Annie Live! Did you love it like tomorrow (which, I hear, is always a day away)?

Annie Live! starred 12-year-old Celina Smith, of Atlanta, as the titular orphan, while Harry Connick Jr. (Will & Grace) in a novelty-store bald cap played Daddy Warbucks and Taraji P. Henson (Empire) filled Miss Hannigan’s sensible shoes.

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Rounding out the main ensemble were singer Nicole Scherzinger as Grace, plus Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s Tituss Burgess and Smash‘s Megan Hilty (stepping in for a COVID-positive Jane Krakowski) as Rooster and Lily/”Ralph and Shirley Mudge.”

Sandy was played by… a dog named Sandy.

The live production — NBC’s sixth such musical in the past eight years, as detailed below — went off with nary a major hitch (save for some wayward cameras and a dropped-out mic here and there), performed in front of a fully vaccinated and masked audience of nearly 500 people.

Annie Live
Annie Live

NBC’s previous live musical productions include 2013’s The Sound of Music Live! (which TVLine readers gave an average grade of “C,” while 18.6 million viewers tuned in)… 2014’s Peter Pan Live! (TVLine reader grade “C,” 9.2 million viewers), 2015’s The Wiz Live! (TVLine reader grade “A-,” 11.5 million viewers)… 2016’s Hairspray Live! (TVLine reader grade “B,” 9.1 million viewers)… and 2018’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (TVLine reader grade “B+,” 9.4 million viewers). In 2020, the network aired Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical, a prerecorded stage show headlined by Matthew Morrison (TVLine reader grade “D,” 2.5 million viewers).

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