“I’ve always wanted to be a villain,” said Burgess.
Well, it looks like Tituss Burgess will be taking his talents to Easy Street. The six-time Emmy-nominated actor has been cast to play Rooster in NBC’s upcoming Annie Live! set to air Dec. 2.
Rooster Hannigan is the scheming and money-hungry little brother of Miss Hannigan, played by Taraji P. Henson, who runs the orphanage where Annie lives.
“I’ve always wanted to be a villain,” said Burgess, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The character Rooster is an underhanded scam artist who deceives the public into believing that he, along with his girlfriend Lilly, are the parents of Annie for a huge financial reward. It is later revealed that he and his sister, Miss Hannigan, are conspiring a get-rich-quick scheme.
Tituss Burgess attends “Purple Rain” at Radial Park on Oct. 15, 2020 in Astoria, New York. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Annie Live! is based on the Broadway musical inspired by Harold Gray’s comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The live musical will be NBC’s first since 2019 when Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert aired starring Brandon Victor Dixon, John Legend, and Sara Bareilles.
Burgess celebrated the casting news on social media Wednesday, reposting the THR story.
“The Rooster’s outta the bag!!!! “ANNIE” LIVE! here we come 😍🐔” the actor wrote on Instagram and Twitter.
Burgess, 42, is the most recent addition to the star-studded cast of the musical. Other cast members include Harry Connick, Jr. as wealthy businessman Daddy Warbucks and Nicole Scherzinger as Warbucks’ nurturing secretary Grace.
Casting for the role of Annie has yet to be announced, though virtual open auditions were held for the future star.
Robert Greenblatt and Neil Meron, who executive produced previous NBC Lives!, will return for Annie Live!
This would not be Burgess’ first live performance as he has a successful string of stage shows under his belt. He made his Broadway debut in Good Vibrations as Eddie in 2005. That same year he appeared in Jersey Boys as Hal Miller.
He went on the perform in other theatre productions such as Guys and Dolls, The Wiz, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Burgess also performed at the “Broadway for Obama” benefit concert in 2008 and at the “Broadway After Dark” benefit concert that same year.
He received universal acclaim in the Netflix original, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which landed him a 2015 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
The original 1982 Annie film was a musical comedy-drama based on the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, and Thomas Meehan. The film, based in 1933, tells a story of a New York City orphan who is invited to spend a few days at the house of America’s richest millionaire, Oliver Warbucks.
One of the film’s most popular song numbers is a tune called “Easy Street.”
Annie Live! premieres Thursday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. on NBC
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