'30 Rock' Star Forced to Drop out of Upcoming TV Project

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Jane Krakowski has stepped away from NBC's upcoming production Annie Live! after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Deadline. The 30 Rock star was previously cast as Lily St. Regis, but the role will now be played by Megan Hilty. Hilty issued a statement saying she was excited to take on this role.

"I am beyond thrilled to join this all-star cast, crew and creative team," Hilty said. "My family and I have been super fans of Annie for as long as I can remember, and we always look forward to the epic televised musicals produced by Bob Greenblatt and Neil Meron, so to be a part of this particular production is an honor and a dream come true. I wish Jane the speediest of recoveries and hope to do her proud."

Sources close to Krakowski said that she contracted the novel coronavirus while working on another undisclosed TV project in Ireland. So far, NBC has not issued an official comment on the casting switch. Krakowski is best known for playing the manic actress Jenna on 30 Rock - best friend of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). The show also starred Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin, among others.

Hilty is best known for playing Ivy Lynn on Smash. Her other TV roles include BrainDead, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and The Good Wife, among others. Like Krakowski, she also has a long history on the stage, with roles including Glinda in Wicked, Doralee in 9 to 5 and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.

The worlds of TV and Broadway have been coming together more and more often in recent years for these Live! productions. Annie Live! stars Celina Smith as Annie, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace and Tituss Burgess as Rooster.


Perhaps the saddest part of Krakowski's recasting is that fans will not see her on-screen reunion with Burgess. Both were on 30 Rock where Burgess had an occasional bit part, but they were on screen together more often in the Netflix Original Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. There, Burgess played the aspiring performer Titus Andromedon while Krakowski played the wealthy but insecure socialite Jacqueline Voorhees.

Annie Live! is scheduled to premiere on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. 30 Rock is streaming now on Peacock, while Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is streaming on Netflix.

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