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5 Things to Look Out for During NBC's Annie Live

Here's what to expect from the broadcast, which airs tonight at 8pm.

There are no more tomorrows left! Annie Live enters our homes tonight at 8pm ET on NBC.

But with three previous film versions, plus the beloved original stage musical, all of which feature several different songs, what exactly will this Annie be? We were at the dress rehearsal last night, and without revealing too much, here are a handful of the surprises in store to delight any and all fans of our favorite curly-haired orphan.

Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Tituss Burgess as Rooster Hannigan, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace Farrell, Celina Smith as Annie, Harry Connick, Jr. as Daddy Warbucks
(© Paul Gilmore/NBC)

1. "We'd Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover"
This fan-favorite number is in the original stage show, but has never made it to any of the screen versions…until now. Lear deBessonet's television production features a pointed rendition of "We'd Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover," which takes on new meaning now amid an ongoing pandemic that has ravaged the world. Angry and hungry and jobless folks sing with a powerful bitterness that cannot be ignored, and this number in particular shows Annie's almost eerie relevance to the present day, despite the show taking place during the Depression.

2. A Tribute to Ann Reinking
There are several show stopping moments throughout the production that will surely have you tapping your toes along … or hit you with a sudden urge to scrub your floors ‘til they shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. Choreographer Sergio Trujillo infuses some modern-day movement into the classic bucket and mop dancing of "It's the Hard Knock Life," and later gives Nicole Scherzinger (Grace Farrell) some leggy dance moves that pay homage to the 1982 movie's Grace, Ann Reinking, who passed away nearly a year ago at the age of 71.

Celina Smith as Annie
(© Paul Gilmore/NBC)

3. Annie and the Orphans Steal the Show
Celina Smith as Annie will tug at every last one of your heartstrings as she delivers a performance with equal parts gentle courage and powerful punch. Her warmth will undoubtedly radiate through your TV screen and give you the warm and fuzzies. As for her orphan pals, the attitude and grit are present in every sung note, stomped foot, and back handspring. But above all, they exude bravado and charisma. In particular, keep an eye on the littlest orphan, Molly, played in this production by Felice Kakaletris. Her comedic timing doesn't miss, and she certainly holds her own among this all-star cast.

4. Musical Rewrites
The score by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan, are classic, obviously. Keep an eye out where for a few lyric rewrites, and dialogue that is slightly different from what the die-hard fans may know. There are also reprises sung by different characters, making for poignant moments that aid in the progression of the story in new ways. Best of all are certain adlibs by Miss Hannigan herself, Taraji P. Henson, who will have you laughing so hard, you'll have to turn up the volume on your TV so you don't miss the next zinger. And when she's joined by Broadway superstars Tituss Burgess as Rooster Hannigan and Megan Hilty as Lily St. Regis, you'll be wishing "Easy Street" had about six more verses.

5. It'll Give You the Holiday Spirit
With a star-studded cast, a stunning set, dazzling costumes, perfectly choreographed movement, and a heartwarming story, this production will definitely be an Annie you recognize, if not without some surprises along the way. Plus, the Christmas decor adorning the set by the end of the show will put you right in the holiday spirit. The sun will come out tonight.

Sandy the dog
(© Paul Gilmore/NBC)
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