How can she follow your sweet advice to easy street?

By Maureen Lee Lenker
June 08, 2021 at 08:00 AM EDT
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Taraji P. Henson is here to insist you clean this dump until it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building.

On Tuesday, NBC announced that the Empire and Hidden Figures star will be playing Miss Hannigan in their previously announced production of Annie Live!. Henson is the first member of the cast to be announced.

NBC also revealed that they will be conducting a nationwide casting search to find the perfect young star to cast in the titular role of Annie. Auditions will happen virtually. They've got plenty of time to find a red-headed moppet - the live production doesn't air until Thursday, Dec. 2.

"When we decided to bring back NBC's holiday musical tradition, we were looking for something that was critically acclaimed and universally beloved - and while that's definitely the case with 'Annie,' it absolutely applies to Taraji as well," said Susan Rovner, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming's entertainment content, in a statement. "Watching her take on this iconic role will be a thrill that has all the makings of must-watch television." 

Taraji P. Henson and Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan in ANNIE
Taraji P. Henson/Carol Burnett
| Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images; Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Henson will be terrorizing little girls as the blowsy, cruel mistress of the orphanage where audiences first meet Annie before she is whisked off to Daddy Warbucks' mansion on a life-changing adventure. She follows in the footsteps of acting icons Carol Burnett and Kathy Bates, who played the role on screen in 1982 and 1999 respectively.

"Carol Burnett, who brought Miss Hannigan to life in the classic 1982 movie, is someone I have studied and idolized as far back as I can remember," said Henson in a statement. "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!"

Miss Hannigan is the villain of Annie, a gleeful, selfish woman who gets to strut her stuff in the numbers "Easy Street" and, of course, "Little Girls."

We love you, Miss Hannigan!

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