Find Out What Critics Thought of NBC's Annie Live! | Playbill

The Verdict Find Out What Critics Thought of NBC's Annie Live! The live TV special, starring Celina Smith, Harry Connick, Jr., and Taraji P. Henson, aired December 2.
Megan Hilty, Tituss Burgess, and Taraji P. Henson in Annie Live! Eric Liebowitz/NBC

The reviews are in for the December 2 television event Annie Live! The special, this year's live musical offering from NBC, was based more closely on the 1977 Broadway production than other filmed adaptations (though a few movie-specific numbers were thrown in).

Featuring a score by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan, the musical—based on the Depression-era comic strip "Little Orphan Annie"—starred newcomer Celina Smith as plucky title orphan, Harry Connick, Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, and Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan. The cast also included Nicole Scherzinger as Grace, Tituss Burgess as Rooster, Megan Hilty as Lily St. Regis, and Alan Toy as FDR, along with featured orphans Felice Kakaletris as Molly, Cate Elefante as Kate, Sophie Knapp as July, Tessa Frascogna as Tessie, Arwen Monzon-Sanders as Duffy, and Audrey Cymone as Pepper.

Read the reviews below.

AV Club (Caroline Siede)

CNN (Brian Lowry)

The Daily Beast (Kevin Fallon)

Deadline (Valerie Complex)

Entertainment Weekly (Maureen Lee Lenker and Lauren Huff)

The Hollywood Reporter (Daniel Fienberg)

New York Magazine/Vulture (Kathryn VanArendonk and Jackson McHenry)

The New York Times (Noel Murray)

TV Line (Matt Webb Mitovich)

USA Today (Patrick Ryan)

Variety (Daniel D'Addario)

The Washington Post (Emily Yahr)

Playbill will continue to update this page as reviews come in.

Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski shared directing duties, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, costumes by Emilio Sosa, production design by Jason Sherwood, and orchestrations by Stephen Oremus. William Berloni, who started his prolific career as a Broadway animal trainer by finding and training Annie's original Sandy, was also on the creative team, having previously worked on NBC's Peter Pan Live! and The Wiz Live!.

The special is executive produced by Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron, and Alex Rudzinsky with Chloe Productions as producer. Annie Live! is now available for streaming on Hulu, Peacock, and

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