In “Annie Live!,” Burgess will portray the sleazy Rooster, younger brother of main villain Miss Hannigan (played by Taraji P. Henson), in this live holiday production of the classic musical. Rooster escapes from jail and plots with his gold-digging girlfriend Lily to ruin everyone’s plans and get rich — while still making time to sing the famed Broadway number “Easy Street.”
Burgess is the most recent addition to the star-studded cast of the musical. Previously announced cast members include Taraji P. Henson as the classic villain (and Rooster’s big sister) Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick, Jr. as benevolent businessman Daddy Warbucks and Nicole Scherzinger as Warbucks’ kid-loving secretary Grace. Casting for the titular orphan has yet to be announced, though NBC held virtual open auditions for the role, hoping to find a “future star” to act, sing and dance alongside the celebrities in the production.
Burgess is known for his powerhouse vocals as featured in his roles as Cole in “Central Park” and Titus Andromedon in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” for which he received five Emmy nominations. “I’ve always wanted to be a villain,” he said about his role in “Annie Live!”
“Annie,” based on the Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” from the early 1920s, has been licensed and performed in 50 countries and translated into eight languages. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1977, and was adapted into two more movies, one in 1999 featuring Kathy Bates and one in 2014 starring Quvenzhané Wallis. “Annie Live!” will be executive produced by Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron, and Alex Rudzinsky, with Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski sharing the directing duties. Choreography will be led by Sergio Trujillo. Paul Tazewell will design costumes. Jason Sherwood will orchestrate production design. Stephen Oremus will oversee the music direction. The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
“Annie Live!” will air on Dec. 2 at 8 p.m.