“The Rooster’s outta the bag!” crowed Tituss Burgess via Twitter on Wednesday, as the Hollywood Reporter exclusively announced he would be joining the cast of NBC’s Annie Live! The six-time Emmy nominee will portray “Rooster,” the calculating, ne’er-do-well brother of harried orphanage manager Miss Hannigan, to be played by Taraji P. Henson in the latest musical rendering of the one-time comic strip.
The production, scheduled to air Dec. 2, has tapped Tituss Burgess to play the role of Rooster, the underhanded brother of the ruthless Miss Hannigan.
The six-time Emmy-nominated Kimmy Schmidt alum joins a cast that includes Empire alum Taraji P. Henson as Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks and Nicole Scherzinger as Grace. The role of Annie has yet to be announced.
Burgess, who next embodies Rev. Dr. James Cleveland in the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, will once again be following in big footsteps. Folks of a certain age *raises hand* no doubt remember the now-classic 1982 film version, in which a mustache-twirling, singing and dancing Tim Curry (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame) hilariously chewed the scenery alongside Bernadette Peters as girlfriend Lily and Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan, in an equally star-studded cast that included Albert Finney, Geoffrey Holder and Broadway star Ann Reinking. Tony winner Alan Cumming played Rooster in a 1999 made-for-television version for The Wonderful World of Disney, directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago), with Kathy Bates, Victor Garber, Audra McDonald and Kristen Chenoweth among the illustrious cast.
In the more recent 2014 version starring Quvenzhané Wallis (as Annie) and Jamie Foxx (as Daddy Warbucks), with Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale rounding out the leading roles, the role of Rooster was replaced by Cannavale’s scheming campaign manager “Guy”—perhaps one of many reasons the film was widely panned and won that year’s Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake (h/t Wikipedia).
With yet another diverse reimagining that is honoring the musical’s original Broadway narrative, we may finally be getting the best of both worlds. Given that Burgess was consistently a fan favorite on Kimmy Schmidt, we have no doubt our eyes will be glued to him as he hams it up opposite Henson.
“I’ve always wanted to be a villain,” said Burgess, reports People magazine.