It is not such a hard knock life for us, especially when getting the exclusive chance to speak with Annie Live!‘s titular Annie, the wonderful Celina Smith. Smith may not be making her big debut as the beloved orphan, but certainly feels like she is going to make a stunning entrance into your collective consciousness. We had the unparalleled opportunity to sit down with her virtually (prior to the show airing live and even before the rehearsal process) and we could tell even in September that this is going to be a really special version of the NBC live musicals that we have been enjoying for a number of years now. We talked with Smith about the audition process, the artists that inspire her (Leon Bridges and Billie Eilish) and she even shared some fun behind-the-scenes tidbits about her former stint playing Young Nala in The Lion King on stage. Moreover, forget Die Hard and Love Actually, Annie is a Christmas musical and we could not envision a more ideal Annie than rising star Celina Smith.
Annie Live! airs Thursday, December 2 at 8pm on NBC; Encore: Monday, December 20 at 8pm