Andrea McArdle, Broadway's Original Annie, Steps Down from Role in Annie Live!

·2 min read
Andrea McArdle
Andrea McArdle

Derek Storm/FilmMagic

Andrea McArdle, Broadway's original Annie, is stepping down from her role in the upcoming Annie Live! production due to a family emergency.

McArdle, 58, was cast as Eleanor Roosevelt in the NBC live musical set to air, next week.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the actress explained her abrupt withdrawal from the program.

"I am saddened to announce I will not be participating in "ANNIE LIVE!" My father is currently in the hospital, and I need to put all of my energy into his health and well-being. I wish everyone involved with the production great success. Break a leg everyone," said McArdle.

Executive Producer of Annie Live! Bob Greenblatt also commented on the Broadway star's sudden departure.

"We love Andrea McArdle and our entire company is sending best wishes to her and her father. Our Annie, Celina Smith, is thrilled to have met her and she's excited about following in her incredible footsteps."

RELATED: See Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan for NBC's Annie Live!: 'Playing the Villain Is Always Fun'

RELATED: Jane Krakowski 'Recovering Safely' from Breakthrough COVID, Megan Hilty Fills Annie Live! Role

McArdle is the second person to depart Annie Live!

Earlier this month, Jane Krakowski was forced to step down from her role as Lily St. Regis in the upcoming production. The 53-year-old Tony Award winner contracted a breakthrough case of COVID, despite being double vaccinated, regular testing, and abiding by protocols, PEOPLE confirmed. Broadway alum Megan Hilty will fill in.

"She's recovering safely and she wishes Annie the best," a source of Krakowski told PEOPLE at the time. "She'll be cheering Megan and the cast on from the sidelines."

Hilty said in a statement, "I am beyond thrilled to join this all-star cast, crew & creative team! 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!"

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The star-studded cast also features Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Titus Burgess as Rooster Hannigan, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace and newcomer Celina Smith as Annie.

Annie Live! will air Dec. 2 on NBC at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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