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'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' star joins live 'Annie' telecast

NBC has begun a nationwide casting search for the role of Annie.

NEW YORK — NBC announced Wednesday its holiday production of “Annie Live!” has landed six-time Emmy Award nominee Tituss Burgess.

The “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star will be scheming and dancing in the scene-stealing role of Rooster in NBC's live production — set for air Thursday, Dec. 2.

Burgess joins Taraji P. Henson who stars as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick as the warm-hearted Sir Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks and Nicole Scherzinger who plays Grace.

Burgess joins a soon-to-be-discovered young star as NBC recently conducted a nationwide casting search for the role of Annie. Rehearsals for the show will be in October and November 2021 in New York.

“I've always wanted to be a villain,” said Burgess, who will play the brother of the ruthless Miss Hannigan.

NBC said Robert Greenblatt will serve as executive producer of the musical telecast along with Neil Meron, who has served as executive producer on all of NBC’s live musicals since 2013’s "The Sound of Music Live!"

One of the biggest hits in Broadway history, "Annie" is known for its many stage, television and movie adaptations and the songs "Tomorrow," "It’s A Hard-Knock Life," "Maybe," "Little Girls," "Easy Street," and "NYC."

The Grammy Award-winning score has delighted audiences for over 40 years.

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Tituss Burgess arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Respect" at the Regency Bruin Theater on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021.

"As we look to drive big live audiences for NBC, we could think of no better way than to bring back the network’s holiday musical tradition," said NBCUniversal Television's Susan Rovner.

"And there are no better partners to do this with than the incredible Neil Meron and Bob Greenblatt, who oversaw every live musical during the years he ran NBC. Under their leadership, 'Annie Live' will bring a fresh perspective to this timeless classic, coupling a dynamic first-class creative team with casting choices that will ensure this is a must-watch event for the whole family."

"Annie Live!" will be directed by the award-winning Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski.

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