Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original Annie, steps away from her role as Eleanor Roosevelt in NBC’s upcoming Annie Live! especially because of a family case.
“I’m sorry to announce that I do not want to participate Annie Live!“My father is currently in the hospital and I have to spend all my energy on his health and well-being. I wish everyone involved in the production great success,” said McArdle in a statement.
More from Deadline
Bob Greenblatt, executive producer of Annie Live! said: “We love Andrea McArdle and our entire company sends our best wishes to her and her father. Our Annie, Celina Smith, is thrilled to have met her and she is thrilled to follow in her incredible footsteps.”
McArdle, who was nominated for a Tony for his performance as the title character in the original 1977 Broadway production of Annie – and with her powerful vocals made a modern standard of the song “Tomorrow” – teased her casting in the new adaptation of a Show today appearance with Smith earlier this month. NBC confirmed her casting on November 16th.
Also earlier this month, NBC announced that Megan Hilty would take over the role of Lily St. Regis, after Jane Krakowski was diagnosed with a breakthrough case of Covid-19.
The role of Eleanor Roosevelt is small: she appears with her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a scene where Annie visits the White House. Actor Alan Toy is set to play FDR in the NBC special and will be the first actor to get polio in the role of the president who famously had the same disability.
A replacement for McArdle was not announced. Also on the cast are Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace and Tituss Burgess as Rooster.
Annie Live! aired Thursday, December 2 at 20.00 ET / PT on NBC.
Best of Deadline
Sign up for Deadline’s newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.