Taraji P. Henson has nearly done it all. The Academy Award nominee has a decorated career but up until now, she has not been able to delve into her passion for musical theater. That all changes this December when Henson takes the stage as Miss Hannigan in Annie Live!.
Henson says this project is full circle for her. She studied musical theater while attending Howard University and had dreams of Broadway stardom. But due to lack of representation in theater at the time, she never thought her dream would come to fruition.
“I got to play whatever I wanted to [while attending Howard University], that was the beauty of going and studying theater at an HBCU,” Henson told Shadow and Act in a recent interview. “But in then in the real world, it’s like, ‘I know I’ll never go and play that’ and then wow, here were are in 2021 and I’ve been tapped to play Miss Hannigan.”
The role is beyond what Henson could have ever imagined, especially considering Annie is an all-time fave and Carol Burnett who starred as Miss Hannigan is Henson’s idol. What makes this role special for Henson is being able to bring color to the role, something that’s been absent from the live production since its inception on mainstream stages. Henson is one of three leads of color in the production.
“I didn’t have those images growing up, I had Molly Ringwald, and the only reason why I identified with her is because she was from a broken family and she was poor,” Henson said. “But, she didn’t look like me.”
The live adaptation of Annie airs on NBC on Dec. 2. Watch the full interview below where Henson talks about showcasing her musical chops in the role and more on how impactful the production is to her and viewers: