The sun will come out this holiday season on NBC. Annie Live!, produced by Bob Greenblatt and Neil Meron, will air later this year, the network announced on Wednesday.
“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,” says Susan Rovner, Chairman of Entertainment Content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “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.”
“It is a joy to come back to NBC and produce a new live musical, a form I loved bringing back to life with my partners Neil Meron and the late Craig Zadan,” Greenblatt says. “And we’re thrilled to work with Susan Rovner and her new team because they share our belief in the power of broadcast television to bring families together for events like these.”
Adds Meron, “There are few musicals like Annie where you know the words to every song and the overriding message — especially in the trying times we live in — is optimism. The song “Tomorrow” means more than ever now, and it’s not lost on us that even Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal are impacted by this little orphan who simply believes in the goodness of everyone!”
Based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, the original production of Annie ran for nearly six years (1977–1983) on Broadway, taking home seven Tony Awards. It has since become a global phenomenon, both on stage and on screen; the most recent film adaptation, which was won a Razzie in 2015, starred Quvenzhané Wallis as the titular orphan opposite A-listers like Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz and Bobby Cannavale.
Previous live NBC musical productions have included 2013’s The Sound of Music Live!, starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer; 2014’s Peter Pan Live!, starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken; 2015’s The Wiz Live!, featuring Amber Riley, Queen Latifah and more; and 2016’s Hairspray Live!, featuring Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein and more; and 2018’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, starring John Legend, Brandon Victor Dixon and Sara Bareilles.
Let’s hear it, musical fans: Are you excited for Annie Live! to bow on NBC? Drop a comment with your thoughts.