NBC’s “Annie Live!” has recast “Smash” star Megan Hilty in the role of Lily St. Regis after Jane Krakowski, who was originally given the part, was diagnosed with a breakthrough COVID-19 case.
Per NBC, Krakowski contracted COVID-19 “while working on a separate project in Ireland despite being double vaccinated, a regular testing process and abiding by protocols.”
Hilty joins an “Annie Live!” cast that includes newcomer Celina Smith in the lead role of Annie alongside Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace and Tituss Burgess as Rooster.
Krakowski’s inclusion as the ditzy girlfriend of Miss Hannigan’s slick brother Rooster was going to mark an “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” reunion between her and Burgess.
“Annie Live!” will be executive produced by Bob Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Alex Rudzinsky, with Lear deBessonet and Rudzinski sharing directing duties. Choreography will be led by Sergio Trujillo. Jason Sherwood will oversee production design. Stephen Oremus will orchestrate the music direction. Emilio Sosa will lead costume design. The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
“Annie” is one of the biggest hits in Broadway history and the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It has been licensed and performed in 50 countries and translated into eight languages. Based on the Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” that debuted in 1924, the musical premiered on Broadway in 1977 and initially ran for more than four years.
“I am beyond thrilled to join this all-star cast, crew & creative team!” Hilty said in a statement Friday. “My family and I have been super fans of ‘Annie’ for as long as I can remember and we always look forward to the epic televised musicals produced by Bob Greenblatt & Neil Meron, so to be a part of this particular production is an honor and a dream come true. I wish Jane the speediest of recoveries and hope to do her proud!”
Hilty is best known for her role as Ivy Lynn in NBC’s musical drama “Smash.” The Tony nominee’s other credits include Lifetime’s “Patsy & Loretta,” Bravo’s dramedy “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce,” Hulu’s “Difficult People,” the final season of CBS’ “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight” for CBS All Access.
She is represented by Randi Goldstein and Nick Collins at The Gersh Agency.
“Annie Live!” will air Thursday, Dec. 2 at 8/7c on NBC.
Deadline first reported the news that Hilty was stepping in for Krakowski in the NBC musical event “Annie Live!”