Who is Playing Annie in ‘Annie Live!’

Annie Live

NBC Celina Smith as Annie

The televised NBC musical “Annie Live!,” premiering on December 2, stars Celina Smith as the beloved orphan, Annie. Before being cast as Annie, the 13-year-old starred on the Nickelodeon series, “Terry Perry’s Young Dylan,” as the character, Rebecca Wilson, per IMDb. According to TheaterMania, the Atlanta native also showed off her musical talents as Young Nala while on tour for “The Lion King” musical. 

Celina Smith Began Acting When She Was 7-Years-Old

While speaking to Brief Take in November 2021, Smith explained that she has been acting since she was 7-years-old after attending “a [theater] camp called AGI Entertainment in Atlanta.” She explained that she was originally interested in pursuing gymnastics. 

“It was not my idea to start acting, singing, and dancing. I started doing gymnastics when I was five and then my parents were like, ‘Okay well this is not for her. Her cartwheels suck.’ So they put me into that camp and from there until I was nine when I got the call for ‘The Lion King’ audition was really when I wanted to act and sing and dance. It’s where the love and the passion came from,” explained the actress. 

During the Brief Take interview, Smith spoke about the audition process for “Annie Live!” She explained that she was somewhat familiar with the musical and was requested to send in a tape of her singing “Tomorrow” and “Maybe.”

“They gave us a songs for me to sing so they like emailed it to me and like the track and everything. So I sang it for the audition, I sang ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Maybe.’ And you know, ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Maybe’ are the two most memorable songs from the show so, of course, I already knew a little bit of ‘Maybe’ but I already knew all of ‘Tomorrow,'” explained Smith. 

The 13-year-old then shared that the audition process to secure the iconic role was tedious.

“It’s kind of a new process for me because I haven’t really done multiple auditions. Maybe two is the max that I’ve probably done. Maybe three or four, but I mean this was like five maybe seven auditions that I had done in the process of trying to book ‘Annie,'” said the actress. 

Celina Smith Revealed How Her Experience on ‘The Lion King’ Helped Her Performance as Annie

During a December 2021 interview on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” alongside her “Annie Live!” co-star Taraji P. Henson, who plays Miss Hannigan, Smith explained how starring in “The Lion King” helped her prepare to play Annie on the televised musical.

“I’ve done live performances with ‘Lion King’ so I feel like it’s almost like the same thing. And I’m back in my comfort zone so I feel like it’s just like I’m back home, you know, so I’m so excited,” said the actress. 

While speaking to Bionic Buzz in November 2021, Smith shared why she appreciates the musical, “Annie.”

“I just thought that the message for Annie especially during these times was really important to be able to share. And I thought me being able to share the message to everybody and just put a smile on their faces means the world so I’m just so excited to be able to share the message with everybody,” stated the actress. 

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