Bet your bottom dollar this cast is making history!
Alan Toy has been cast as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in NBC’s Annie Live! musical, airing Thursday, December 2. The network previously announced that triple-threat veterans Taraji P. Henson, Harry Connick Jr., Nicole Scherzinger, Tituss Burgess, and Megan Hilty will headline the cast, with newcomer Celina Smith at the helm in the titular role of Annie.
Like F.D.R., Toy is a polio survivor. He is the first actor with paralysis to portray F.D.R. in a production of Annie.
“It is a huge honor to join such a talented ensemble,” Toy said in a press statement. “F.D.R. has always been a role model of accomplishment for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to play him. I tip my hat to NBC and the producers of Annie Live! for authentically casting a person with a Disability for this role.”
The actor-activist added, “I’m proud to represent the community and hope that we will continue to see more of the Disability Community in roles across entertainment media.”
Toy previously appeared on Beverly Hills, 90210, West Wing, and Matlock, with roles in films like The Aviator and Born on the Fourth of July. He also co-founded the Interguild Committee of Performers with Disabilities.
Annie Live! is based on the 1924 Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie; the musical premiered on Broadway in 1977. Annie has won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and now adds to NBC’s traditional of live holiday musical productions.
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 as Jason Sherwood oversees production design. Stephen Oremus will orchestrate the music direction. Emilio Sosa will lead costume design.
The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
Annie Live!, Premiere, Thursday, December 2, 8/7c, NBC