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NBC’s ‘Annie Live!’ Cast Vs. the Original 1982 Movie Actors: Photos



NBC’s Annie Live! is set to air on Dec. 2, and it marks the fourth onscreen adaptation of 1977’s Annie the musical, based on Harold Gray’s long-running Little Orphan Annie comic strip. Set during the Great Depression in 1930s New York City, the musical follows eleven-year-old Annie as she escapes from the orphanage where she lives to embark on a quest to find her parents. After getting past maniacal orphanage owner Miss Agatha Hannigan, Annie’s taken in by eccentric billionaire Oliver Warbucks, who wants to adopt her. She declines at first, determined to escape her hard-knock life and find her biological family. But after a con artist couple poses as her parents in an attempt to adopt her, Warbucks permanently reunites with Annie and reminds her “the sun will come out tomorrow.”

Annie was first adapted for the big screen in 1982, five years after its Broadway debut. Directed by John Huston (1956’s Moby Dick), the movie received Oscar nominations for Best Production Design and Best Original Score and was a commercial success, grossing over $57 million on a $35 million budget. Disney and Columbia Pictures then produced a made-for-television film version of the musical in 1999, which was viewed by over 26 million people and received a Peabody Award and two Emmy nominations. Fifteen years later, a present-day film version of Annie hit theaters, featuring a racially diverse cast and music by Sia, and it received two Golden Globe nominations. Marking its first-ever onscreen adaptation to be broadcast live on television, NBC’s Annie Live! will offer yet another fresh take on the iconic musical. Here’s how the new live version’s actors compare to those who appeared in the original 1982 film.

Celina Smith Vs. Aileen Quinn As Annie

Stepping into the titular role for NBC is 12-year-old Celina Smith, who was chosen after an open nationwide audition, similar to the leading actors in the network’s The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live! While she’ll take on her first leading role in Annie Live!, she previously acted as Young Nala in the national tour of The Lion King and Rebecca Wilson in Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan. Speaking to Today for a recent interview, Smith recalled the moment she found out she was cast as Annie. “We were in my mom’s room and my team called and they were like, ‘What are you going to be doing this October?’” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ And then they were like, ‘You’re going to be in New York doing Annie Live! this October.’ And I screamed!”

Following a minor role in 1981’s Paternity, Aileen Quinn scored her breakout role in 1982’s Annie. She’s acted in several other projects since the film’s release, most recently appearing in a 2020 episode of Will & Grace. According to her LinkedIn page, she worked as an Arts Professor for two years at Monmouth University, where Annie was partially filmed. She also has a band called Aileen Quinn and The Leapin’ Lizards, which released its most recent album, Lightning and Thunder, in 2019.

Harry Connick Jr. Vs. Albert Finney As Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks

Emmy and Grammy award-winning jack-of-all-trades actor, singer, pianist, and host Harry Connick Jr. will portray Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks in NBC’s Annie Live! While he hasn’t previously played the role, he covered a few of the musical’s songs for his 2001 Songs I Heard album, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In a recent interview with Channel Guide magazine, Connick spoke about his relationship to the Annie soundtrack. “I’ve always loved the whole score. It’s a really beautiful piece of work,” Connick told the publication. “Probably my favorite is this song called ‘Something Was Missing,’ which is one of the songs I recorded, and I get to sing it in this production.”

Reportedly beating out Sean Connery and Cary Grant for the role, Daddy Warbucks was played by Albert Finney in the original 1982 film. Also known for playing the titular characters in 1963’s Tom Jones and 1970’s Scrooge, the actor passed away at 82 years old in 2012 following his final film appearances in The Bourne Legacy and Skyfall.

Taraji P. Henson Vs. Carol Burnett As Miss Agatha Hannigan

Taraji P. Henson was the first actor to be cast in Annie Live!, scoring the role of tyrannical orphanage owner Miss Agatha Hannigan. While she’s more well-known as a film and television star, the Oscar nominee recently told Yahoo! News she feels most comfortable doing theater. “I always feel home on the stage. When I was second-guessing or questioning whether I was still in love with this thing called ‘TV and Film,’ I said, ‘the tell-tale will be how I feel when I go back to the stage,’” Henson said. “The stage is a spiritual place for me. It really is… I feel more at home in a theater on a stage than I do with the foreign cold camera looking at me.”

After Bette Midler was initially considered for the role, Carol Burnett was cast in the 1982 film as Miss Hannigan. At the time, she was four years removed from the end of The Carol Burnett Show, which won 25 Emmys during its 11-year run. In a 2020 interview with Forbes, the legendary actor and comedian reminisced on her time working on Annie. “I think it was well cast and directed, it’s a wonderful, timeless story, and Aileen Quinn was the perfect Annie,” she told the magazine. “It’s about love, it’s exciting, it’s a fairytale, and it’s a little scary too, so it has it all. Plus, I think it comes across that we all had so much fun doing it.”

Tituss Burgess Vs. Tim Curry As Daniel Francis “Rooster” Hannigan

Known for acting in Jersey Boys and The Little Mermaid on Broadway, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, 2020’s TikTok-created Ratatouille the Musical, and his Bachelor in Paradise hosting gig, Tituss Burgess will appear in Annie Live! as Daniel Francis “Rooster” Hannigan, aka Agatha’s con artist brother. Following his recent appearance in the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, he said of his Annie Live! role, per The Hollywood Reporter: “I’ve always wanted to be a villain.”

In the original film, the role of Rooster was played by Emmy winner and Tony nominee Tim Curry, well-known for his portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in 1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “Rooster was a hustler, and people love that kind of character,” Curry, who’s beloved for his many villainous roles, told Forbes in 2020. “He was a lot of fun. I approached it very much in my way, but [Burnett, Bernadette Peters, and I] were very close. We were like The Three Musketeers. Carol is, of course, a legend and probably the funniest woman alive.”

Nicole Scherzinger Vs. Ann Reinking As Grace Farrell

Known as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger has performed in her fair share of musicals, including Neil Patrick Harris’ 2010 production of Rent, a 2014 West End revival of Cats, and Disney’s Moana. In Annie Live!, she’ll take on the role of Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ personal secretary. Speaking to Tamsen Fidal on a recent episode of The Broadway Show, Scherzinger detailed her admiration for Ann Reinking and Audra McDonald, who played the character in the 1982 and 1999 film adaptations, respectively. “I’m excited because I truly admire those women,” she said. “I’m super inspired by both of their interpretations of the role, and then I’m a very saucy girl and I love a lot of spices, so I put a lot of my own flavor into it.”

One-time protégée and significant other of Bob Fosse, Reinking was already known for her Tony award-winning Broadway career, which included lead roles in Goodtime Charley, A Chorus Line, and Chicago. Mostly known for her onstage work, Annie marked one of only four film roles in the actor, dancer, singer, and choreographer’s filmography. Following a 50+ year career, Reinking passed away in December 2020 while sleeping in a Seattle hotel during a family visit.


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Cassidy Timbrooks on ‘The Bachelor’ Isn’t the Villain You Think She Is



I knew Cassidy Timbrooks was going to be eliminated from The Bachelor the second she addressed a table full of children as “you small people.”

But it wasn’t until Clayton Echard learned she had a “friend with benefits” back home that her number came up. The Bachelor rescinded the rose he had already given her and predictably sent the 26-year-old executive assistant packing on Monday night’s episode.

In the eyes of the show, she had committed two cardinal sins: Not acting overjoyed to be around kids, and not putting her sex life on pause for a man she had never met.

That’s why her ride home from the mansion was more than just another early villain exit. The Bachelor is clearly trying to get back to basics this year — and by basics I mean American sexual politics circa 2002. The fact that Cassidy got the boot so swiftly shows how quickly the show is returning to its traditional roots. In an era of dating apps and delayed motherhood, ABC’s long-running reality dating franchise is recommitting in Clayton’s season to its core tenets: Love, marriage, and family — preferably before age 30.

In the eyes of the show, she had committed two cardinal sins: Not acting overjoyed to be around kids, and not putting her sex life on pause for a man she had never met.

Only against that backdrop would a woman like Cassidy strike anyone as an outlier. Outside of the show, she doesn’t exactly seem nefarious. Since the premiere aired, I have been following her on Instagram, where she’s been posting incredibly lucid and self-aware reflections about her time on The Bachelor, conceding in one of her Stories that she struggled to balance “confidence” with “considering other people’s takes.”

Indeed, like so many hated contestants before her, Cassidy appears to have been the victim of a selective edit and a mocking soundtrack. The unflattering edit began in earnest when she largely ignored the children at a birthday party group date to talk with the Bachelor instead. At one point, seated around a table sipping tea, she told a group of kids, “I spend as little time around you small people as possible, so forgive me…” and then immediately went on the back foot as they latched onto the comment.

I don’t blame the kids for taking offense. But any adult viewer who paid attention to her tone should have recognized the droll delivery. Was it an inartful thing to say? Sure. Children aren’t the right audience for wry humor, especially if you’re joking about avoiding them. But Cassidy didn’t deserve to be demonized as a kid hater, either.

“I knew I was giving villain, but I thought I was far more amusing and harmless,” she wrote in one of her post-show Instagram Stories, “and I think a lot of the hate is based in misogyny internalized and otherwise.”

She’s not wrong. Cassidy was punished, both in the edit and by a segment of the audience, for not going googly-eyed at the notion of spending an afternoon building a dollhouse. She certainly didn’t echo the enthusiasm of a fellow contestant who saw the kids from afar and exclaimed, “Oh my God! I’m so excited! I love children!” while running toward them.

The Bachelor is retreating to an extremely white, hyper-hetero comfort zone in which babies are the ultimate goal.

To be fair, that attitude is more in line with Clayton’s. In the first five minutes of the current season, the new Bachelor was twice moved to tears by the thought of raising a family. He introduced himself in the opening voiceover by saying, “I can’t wait to get married and have kids,” and later choked up while reading a letter from a child predicting that he will “have lots of kids.”

Clayton is nothing if not sincere, but there’s probably a reason the producers picked someone like him in the first place — and why they’re emphasizing childrearing so much this early. After years of controversy over racism in the franchise, culminating in the departure of ex-host Chris Harrison — and after more recent flirtations with progressive casting including the first same-sex engagement, a (gasp!) 39-year-old Bachelorette, and several leads of colorThe Bachelor is retreating to an extremely white, hyper-hetero comfort zone in which babies are the ultimate goal.

I used to wonder whether the horror novel I wrote satirizing Bachelor-style shows would be outdated by the time it comes out later this year, but if anything, this season has felt ripped out of time in the worst way.

Cassidy’s storyline especially has highlighted double standards that should be long dead by now. Clayton himself recently addressed viral TikToks about his dating history by saying that he “enjoyed [his] singleness” for “the last six years of my life.” This is the same Bachelor who confronted Cassidy on Monday night’s episode about allegedly “seeing someone up until the point that you came here,” as though she were beholden to him before then. Hookups for me but not for thee?

Presented in the weird logic of the show, you’d almost forget that Cassidy is one of 30 women Clayton dated simultaneously — and that, in season previews, the Bachelor will later admit to being “intimate” with two contestants. Somehow that behavior is more “for the right reasons” than having casual sex with someone before filming even began?

Cassidy may be off the air now, but her brief run was telling. This throwback edition of The Bachelor needed a villain, and the producers chose a confident woman with a history of casual dating who said “F*ck a dollhouse” on camera. It’s probably a bad sign when someone that refreshing doesn’t make it to the second rose ceremony.


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Another Day, Another Musk Tweet Pumps Dogecoin up 9%



Musk, who is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, said he would eat a Happy Meal on TV if Fast food giant McDonald’s starts accepting Dogecoin

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Everything You Need to Know About the UK Government’s COVID Inquiry



On May 12, 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an independent public inquiry into the government’s response to and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Established under the Inquiries Act 2005, the COVID Inquiry will examine the government’s “actions as rigorously and candidly as possible,” according to the Prime Minister, and will aim to “learn every lesson for the future.” It will do so by summoning the production of documents and witnesses to give evidence under oath in order to examine the government’s response to the pandemic.

Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett DBE will act as Chair of the inquiry, which is set to begin “sometime in spring 2022”. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about the COVID Inquiry and what we can expect from the process.

How Will The COVID Inquiry Work?

According to BBC News, the Chair of the Inquiry can call whoever they want to give evidence, “whether they are witnesses to an event or people with particular expertise.” As barristers’ chambers Doughty Street Chambers notes, witnesses to an event will be asked to give evidence of their experience or direct knowledge of what took place. They speak on behalf of an organisation, like the NHS or the police.

Evidence sessions will be given in public and under oath, per BBC News, and most sessions will be available to watch on TV and online. There’s no time limit to the inquiry either, and they can often take years due to the “huge amount of evidence that needs to be read.”

What Will Be Included In The COVID Inquiry?

The exact aims, issues, and remits included won’t be announced until closer to the start of the inquiry, but the Prime Minister has said his government would work closely with the devolved administrations and governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland before setting out what exactly will be included in the inquiry itself.

Shortly after announcing that an inquiry would take place, the Prime Minister told MPs that the inquiry would consider his government’s handling of the pandemic before the first lockdown in March 2020, per The Guardian. As for other issues, law firm BDB Pitmans suggests that the higher death rate in general, especially among ethnic minority groups, will be a major point of contention, as well as the government’s “procurement processes” of contracts awarded during the pandemic.

What Issues Have Been Raised Around The COVID Inquiry?

Undocumented Migrants

Following the publication of a report by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), it’s vital that the voices of undocumented migrants are properly heard during the COVID inquiry. The report found that the UK “lagged far behind other European countries” in protecting undocumented migrants during the pandemic.

Caitlin Boswell, author of the report and policy officer at JCWI, said in a statement that if the government “wants to learn lessons” from this inquiry and “fully recover from the pandemic”, it needs to “stop prioritising its anti-immigration agenda above saving lives.” An anti-immigration agenda which is more commonly known as the Hostile Environment.

The term “Hostile Environment” is used by many to describe a set of policies that are intended to block undocumented migrants from using public services like the NHS and the police, as well as making work and housing inaccessible; effectively making life as difficult as possible.

Boswell added that the government “must listen to migrants’ voices, including those who’ve lost status, and ensure that in the future, no-one has their life put at risk because of their immigration status.” Boswell concluded that in “doing so will not only protect the most marginalised, it will help protect all of us.”

People With Disabilities

Sense, a charity which focuses on complex disabilities, has also called for the government to take the experiences of disabled people and their families into account. As the charity notes, 6 out of 10 people in the UK who have died from COID are disabled, despite making up 22 per cent of the general population.

“Decision-makers did not engage with us, our needs were often overlooked and communications were largely inaccessible,” Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy for Disability Rights UK, explained. “Health bodies treated our lives as less valued, disabled people receiving social care were inadequately protected, some disabled children were denied education and support, and supermarkets failed to ensure that we could access food.”

There is yet to be a date announced or confirmed for the COVID Inquiry.

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