According to our sister site Deadline, Jane Krakowski — who was originally cast as Lily — has stepped away from the musical after testing positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 while working on another project in Ireland. TVLine has reached out to NBC for comment.
“I am beyond thrilled to join this all-star cast, crew and creative team,” Hilty said in a statement to Deadline. “My family and I have been super fans of Annie for as long as I can remember, and we always look forward to the epic televised musicals produced by Bob Greenblatt and Neil Meron, so to be a part of this particular production is an honor and a dream come true. I wish Jane the speediest of recoveries and hope to do her proud.”
Though she’s best known for playing Ivy Lynn during Smash‘s two seasons, Hilty’s TV credits also include BrainDead, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and The Good Wife. On the stage, she’s appeared as Wicked‘s Glinda, 9 to 5‘s Doralee and Little Shop of Horrors‘ Audrey, among other roles.
Annie Live!‘s cast also includes newcomer Celina Smith as the titular orphan, Harry Connick Jr. (Will & Grace) as Daddy Warbucks, Taraji P. Henson (Empire) as Miss Hannigan, singer Nicole Scherzinger as Grace and Tituss Burgess (who would have been reunited with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-star Krakowski) as Rooster.
The live production will air Thursday, Dec. 2, at 8/7c. How do you feel about Hilty playing Lily?