One of the most iconic Broadway musicals is getting the Live treatment this holiday season. ‘Annie Live’ will be produced by Neil Meron and Robert Greenblatt. The broadcast had been pitched to all four major networks before finding its home at NBC.
Robert Greenblatt will executive produce the telecast along with Neil Meron, who has served as executive producer on all of NBC’s live musicals since 2013’s “The Sound of Music Live!,” and most recently the Emmy Award-winning “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
“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.”
“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,” said Greenblatt, “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.”
Added 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!”
Robert Greenblatt brought live musicals back to NBC when he was Chairman and is responsible for some of the biggest hits on television over the last two decades. He is also an award-wining television and Broadway producer, the recipient of the Golden Globe and Peabody awards, two Tony awards, and two Olivier awards.
Neil Meron is the most prolific producer of musicals with former partner Craig Zadan, including the Oscar-winning “Chicago”; he received the Emmy for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert” and produced all of NBC’s live musicals. He also produced “Gypsy” starring Bette Midler and a series of musicals for ABC/Wonderful World of Disney including the groundbreaking “Cinderella” starring Whitney Houston and Brandy.
Alex Rudzinski will once again take on the role as Live Television Director and Executive Producer as he did with “Hairspray Live!” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert.” His live musical credits also include “Grease Live!” and “Rent: Live,” for which he won 3 Emmys.
“Annie Live!” will be directed by the award-winning Lear deBessonet. Artistic Director for New York’s revival series, Encores, she is the recipient of an Obie Award and she created the popular Public Works program at the Public Theatre which produces community-engaged productions with as many as 200 performers.
Veteran choreographer Sergio Trujillo will choreograph the production. Recipient of the Tony award for “Ain’t Too Proud” and the Olivier award for “Memphis,” his credits also include hits “Jersey Boys” and “The Addams Family.”
Paul Tazewell will design the costumes and Jason Sherwood the scenery. Tazewell is a veteran of two NBC live musicals, “The Wiz Live!” (Emmy award) “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” (Emmy nomination). He recently designed costumes for film Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story” and is the designer of the iconic “Hamilton.” Jason Sherwood is a two-time Emmy-winning production designer for “Rent: Live” and the 2020 Oscars, having worked extensively in television, in the live music space, and in all facets of theatre.
Stephen Oremus, two-time Grammy- and Tony-winning music supervisor and orchestrator, will head the music department for “Annie Live!” as he did for “The Wiz Live.” His blockbusters credits include “Wicked,” “Frozen,” “The Book of Mormon,” and Kinky Boots.”
The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
“Annie Live!” will be available to stream on Peacock, following the broadcast.
Originally presented by Mike Nichols, “Annie” is one of the biggest hits in Broadway history and the winner of seven Tony awards including Best Musical. A bonafide name brand around the world, it has been licensed and performed in 50 countries and translated into 8 languages. From songwriters Charles Strouse and Martin Chernin, songs such as “Tomorrow,” “It’s A Hard-Knock Life,” “Maybe,” “Little Girls,” “Easy Street,” and “NYC” are part of the Grammy-winning score that has delighted families and kids of all ages for over 40 years.
Listen to Andrea McArdle who originated the role on Broadway in 1977 sing the song “Tomorrow” below.