NBC is getting back into the live TV musical game with a production of “Annie” set to air this holiday season.
Former NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt will produce “Annie Live!” alongside Neil Meron, who has served as an executive producer on all of NBC’s live musicals since 2013’s “The Sound of Music Live!”
The 1977 musical about a Depression-era orphan features a score by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan. The Tony winner has seen two big-screen adaptations, one in 1982 with Albert Finney and Carol Burnett and another in 2014 with Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role.
The show will be produced by Chloe Productions, with Lear deBessonet serving as director. Alex Rudzinski will oversee the broadcast as “live television director” and executive producer, returning to NBC after most recently helming “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
Sergio Trujillo will choreograph the production, Paul Tazewell will design the costumes and Jason Sherwood will design the scenery. “The Wiz Live” vet and two-time Tony winner Stephen Oremus will head the music department.
“NBC is where we started these live musicals and I still have so much affection for it,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “I’m also so gratified to be working with this creative team, a group of people who are the best at what they do.”
“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,” said Meron. “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!”
“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 Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, 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.”
Variety first reported the news.