Bernadette Peters Talks ‘Annie Live!’s Diverse Casting & Teases Return Of ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’

Bernadette Peters
Presenter Bernadette Peters appears onstage during the third ceremony of the Television Academy's 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the L.A. LIVE Event Deck on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images) AP

Emmy Award nominee Bernadette Peters fully supports the casting of young Black actress Celina Smithto lead NBC’s Annie Live!, a musical TV special with Smith portraying little orphan Annie.

Celina Smith Kahran Bethencourt/CreativeSoul Photography

“Yes, I think as long as it makes sense, and I think it does,” Peters, who starred in the 1982 film Annie, told Deadline at the Creative Emmy Awards on Sunday. “I think that was a fabulous idea. I think changing casting and making things more diverse is a great idea.” (Watch the video above.)

The Annie character was born in the 1924 comic strip created by Harold Gray as a young white girl with curly red hair, which is how the character was portrayed on Broadway and in the 1982 film.

A 2014 contemporary remake of the 1982 film also titled Annie, cast Quvenzhané Wallis as the titular character. It was the property’s first project to have a Black actress portray the lead.

Emmys Scorecard: Wins By Network & Program After Creative Arts Ceremonies

Peters was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Deb in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, a series she’s excited to see return as a holiday movie after Roku saved the series from NBC’s cancellation.

“I’m thrilled because I think it’s a fabulous show with music, hearing what’s in people’s hearts,” she said. “It’s a very human show and I think that’s important right now—people’s feelings and caring about each other and it’s a family. And the cast is so talented. I mean, you can’t find better musical people. I think it’s so great that we have a holiday movie. I just did a read-through of it and it’s great, they put together fabulous music and a wonderful story. I’m encouraged that we’ll see what happens but I’m thrilled that it’s happening.”

Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas will begin filming this month in Vancouver. Watch a video of Peters’ comments above.

Emmys Scorecard: Wins By Network & Program After Creative Arts Ceremonies


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