Actor Alan Toy is set to play Franklin Delano Roosevelt in NBC’s upcoming Annie Live! holiday event, becoming the first actor to have contracted polio in the role of the president who famously had the same disability.
The character of FDR makes a brief but memorable appearance in the musical.
“It is a huge honor to join such a talented ensemble,” said Toy, an actor and activist who speaks often on how mass media depictions of disability influence that community’s place in society. “FDR has always been a role model of accomplishment for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to play him.”
Toy also congratulated NBC and the Annie Live! producers “for authentically casting a person with a disability for this role. I’m proud to represent the community and hope that we will continue to see more of the Disability Community in roles across entertainment media.”
The actor’s credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, Born on the Fourth of July, and Brothers & Sisters, among others.
Toy joins the Annie Live! cast that also includes Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace, Tituss Burgess as Rooster, Megan Hilty as Lily St. Regis and Celina Smith in the title role. Hilty’s casting was announced last week when the originally cast Jane Krakowski stepped away from the role after testing positive for Covid.
On the Today Show last week, Smith and Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original Annie, teased that McArdle will appear on the NBC special as Eleanor Roosevelt. NBC hasn’t officially announced that casting yet.
Annie Live! airs Thursday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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