Former "Empire" star Taraji P. Henson will play mean-spirited orphanage head Miss Hannigan in NBC's live production of the Broadway musical "Annie."
The network announced Tuesday that the Oscar and Emmy nominee would follow in the footsteps of Tony Award-winner Dorothy Loudon and the film and TV-movie adaptations' Carol Burnett, Kathy Bates and Cameron Diaz as antagonist to the stouthearted star of the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip. "Annie Live!" will air Dec. 2.
In a statement Henson, 50, called Burnett, from the 1982 film: "[S]omeone I have studied and idolized as far back as I can remember. So when the opportunity came to me to join NBC and this incredible group of producers, I jumped! Carol, I hope to do you proud!" The star added on Instagram: "SECRET'S OUT!! Yours truly will be portraying Miss Hannigan in the upcoming holiday musical #AnnieLive!! GET READY Y'ALL! I'm SO excited to take on the role and bring some holiday cheer with such a beloved production."
NBC also announced open auditions "for a young, future star of any ethnicity" to play Annie, at castittalent.com/Annie_Live. The 1977-83 Broadway show earned seven Tonys, including Best Musical. Successors to title star Andrea McArdle, who was nominated for her performance, included Sarah Jessica Parker and "Kate & Allie" child-star Allison Smith.