Grammy and Olivier Award nominee Nicole Scherzinger is getting ready to learn about the hard knock life as Grace Farrell in the upcoming Annie Live! on NBC. The live musical is set to air on December 2 and in honor of the upcoming broadcast, Scherzinger sat down with Broadway.com Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek at the new Civilian Hotel to talk about her “passion for the stage,” putting her own twist on the character and more.
Scherzinger, who is known for being part of the Grammy-nominated girl group The Pussycat Dolls, has always been a theater fan. She garnered an Olivier nomination for her portrayal of Grizabella in the London revival of Cats, which marked her West End debut. She also played Maureen in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl. “I think the last dancing that I did was for my music video ‘React’ with The Pussycat Dolls, which is a little bit different style of dance than what we’re doing here in Annie,” Scherzinger said. “My diehard fans who really get me know my musical theater background. They know my love and my passion for the stage, but a lot of people know me more for the pop side. [Annie] is such a classic musical, and I love the songs. We were singing “Tomorrow” the other day, and if you really break down the lyrics to that song, and to ‘Maybe,’ it really gets you.”
Scherzinger joins a list of powerhouse performers who have played Grace Farrell, including the late Ann Reinking and Audra McDonald. “I’m excited because I truly admire those women,” she said. “I’m super inspired by both of their interpretations of the role. I’m a very saucy girl and I love a lot of spices, so I’ve put a lot of my own flavor into it.”
Scherzinger will be joined by newcomer Celina Smith as Annie, Harry Connick Jr. as Sir Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Megan Hilty as Lily St. Regis and Tituss Burgess as Rooster. “I’m really impressed with the cast that they’ve hand selected,” Scherzinger said. “I learn so much from watching everyone. We have an army of orphans that are just awesome. They inspire me, the ensemble, our singers, the dancers. I want to be better because of them. I know that I’m working with the best of the best.”
Watch the interview below, and head here to check your local listings for The Broadway Show. Hosted by Emmy-winning anchor Tamsen Fadal, it is the only nationally syndicated weekly theater news program.