Entertainment TV 'Annie Live!' Receives Praise from Viewers on Social Media: 'Best Live Show in Recent Memory' Celina Smith, Harry Connick Jr., Taraji P. Henson, Nicole Scherzinger, Tituss Burgess and Megan Hilty starred in Annie Live!, which premiered on NBC Thursday By Dory Jackson Dory Jackson Instagram Twitter Website Dory Jackson is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE's digital TV team. While at the brand, she's had the opportunity to interview a long list of celebrities, from Kate Hudson to Pierce Brosnan to Billy Porter. She also recaps popular TV shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules.The New York-based Maryland native graduated from Randolph-Macon College in May 2016 with a focus in Communication Studies and Journalism. She came to PEOPLE in March 2021 after working at a number of major news companies, including Newsweek and Us Weekly. She also previously co-hosted a podcast called "Idol Nation." People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 3, 2021 02:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC Annie Live! went off without a hitch on Thursday, ultimately winning over viewers during its three-hour run. Live televised musical adaptions are not a new phenomenon as Grease, Hairspray and The Wiz previously made a splash on the small screen with star-studded casts. In many cases, these live productions — including The Sound of Music, Peter Pan and The Little Mermaid — have generated mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. But NBC's production of Annie on Thursday — starring newcomer Celina Smith as well as Harry Connick Jr., Taraji P. Henson, Nicole Scherzinger, Tituss Burgess and Megan Hilty — was a big hit. Viewers largely provided positive feedback for the musical on Twitter. As one fan said Annie Live! was "definitely the best live show in recent memory," a second viewer called the production "outstanding." Annie Live!: How the NBC Production Starring Harry Connick Jr., Taraji P. Henson Was Pulled Off Fans also praised specific performances from the all-star cast. As Henson, 51, performed "Little Girls," one Twitter user said the actress was "EATIN [sic] THIS ROLE UP." Another viewer called Smith "amazing" as she belted out the lyrics to "Maybe," while a third fan said the young starlet "without a doubt was born to slay this role." Scherzinger, 43, "did such a wonderful job playing Grace," another fan tweeted. Viewers also enjoyed seeing "It's the Hard-Knock Life" performed by Smith's Annie and the fellow orphan girls. One fan said the children "ate" the song's accompanying dance routine, which included step-dance moves. Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. Ahead of the big day, Smith opened up about what "a blessing" it was to be a part of NBC's Annie production. "Being introduced to Annie is probably the best things that ever happened to me acting-wise," she told theGrio on Wednesday. "And I am so excited and so grateful that I'm able to share this role!" Henson also told the publication that appearing in the live musical marks her return to the stage, which she called "home." Virginia Sherwood/NBC Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Virginia Sherwood/NBC "I always feel home on the stage. When I was second-guessing or questioning whether I was still in love with this thing called 'TV and Film,' I said, 'the tell-tale will be how I feel when I go back to the stage,'" the Oscar nominee said. Henson said she still feels more comfortable doing theatre than being in films and TV, a medium in which she has been incredibly successful. "The stage is a spiritual place for me, it really is," she added. "I feel more at home in a theater on a stage than I do with the foreign cold camera looking at me." Annie Live! premiered Thursday on NBC.