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'Annie Live!': Celina Smith cast in lead role

Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Celina Smith has been cast as Annie in NBC's upcoming Annie Live! special, which is coming to the network in December.

Smith's casting was announced on NBC's Today on Tuesday with the 12-year-old actress appearing on the morning news show.

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"It's just so amazing being able to perform with such an iconic cast and I'm just so excited for this journey to start," Smith said.

Co-stars include Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace Farrell and Tituss Burgess as Rooster Hannigan.

Annie Live! is based on the Broadway musical, which was inspired by Harold Gray's comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The special will air Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC.

Annie Live! will mark NBC's first live musical special since airing Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert in 2018. Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski are directing with Chloe Productions producing.

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