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It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a classic musical, and this year, NBC is treating folks to a TV production of Annie Live!. A nationwide search for a new Annie came to an end over the summer when Celina Smith was cast as the lead role. But who exactly is this young rising star?
At the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 12-year-old actress and singer gave viewers a sneak peek of her skills when she performed the iconic tune “Tomorrow.” Dressed as her character Annie in red and white, Celina instantly blew folks away with her powerful voice. “Congratulations to this talented young lady. I look forward to hearing more from her,” one person wrote online. “So amazing! Well done,” another added.
A voice like that is hard to forget, which is why some might be wondering where they’ve spotted her before. While chatting with the Today show back in August, Celina shared that at the age of 7 she began singing at the entertainment camp AGI Entertainment. The Atlanta native then landed her first acting role as Young Nala in the national touring company of The Lion King.
Last year, Celina kicked off her TV career as the recurring character Rebecca Wilson on the Nickelodeon sitcom Young Dylan. After starring on the show for one season, she was nominated for Best Recurring Young Actress in a TV Series at the Young Artist Awards and took home the win. Truly an impressive start!
For NBC’s production of Annie Live!, Celina will be sharing the stage with a roster full of A-listers, including Taraji P. Henson as orphanage headmistress Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as billionaire Daddy Warbucks, Tituss Burgess as con artist Rooster and Nicole Scherzinger as employee Grace.
“It’s just so amazing to be able to perform with such an iconic cast, and I’m so excited for this journey to start,” she told the Today cohosts. “Just being a part of this production is an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to be here in New York.”
Celina also recalled the moment she found out she got the gig after an extensive audition process. “We were in my mom’s room and my team called and they were like, ‘What are you going to be doing this October?’” she said in her segment. “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!”
A huge congrats to her!
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