Local Actor Cast as FDR
Disabled Santa Monica Actor Alan Toy to Portray "FDR" in NBC's Airing of Annie Live
November 25, 2021
Alan Toy has been cast as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in NBC's holiday spectacular "Annie Live!," set for Thursday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Toy joins an A-list ensemble that 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 of Annie.
Toy, who also contracted polio resulting in paralysis similar to FDR, is the first actor to portray the role while personally having the same disability. An actor and activist, he is regularly sought after for his insights on how mass media depictions of Disability influence that community's place in society.
"It is a huge honor to join such a talented ensemble," Toy said. "FDR has always been a role model of accomplishment for me, and I'm thrilled to be able to play him. I tip my hat to NBC and the producers of 'Annie Live!' 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."
"Annie" is one of the most beloved and biggest hits in Broadway history and the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It has been licensed and performed in 50 countries and translated into eight languages. Based on the Harold Gray comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" that debuted in 1924, the musical premiered on Broadway in 1977 and initially ran for over four years.
"Annie Live!" will be executive produced by Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Alex Rudzinsky, with Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski sharing the directing duties. Choreography will be led by Sergio Trujillo. Jason Sherwood will oversee production design. Stephen Oremus will orchestrate the music direction. Emilio Sosa will lead costume design. The live event is being produced by Chloe Productions.
Alan Toy is represented by Santa Monica City Councilman Phil Brock via his company, Studio Talent Group.
As an actor, Alan Toy has worked in dozens of films and television shows. He's widely remembered by former addicts of "Beverly Hills 90210" as cult leader Professor Finley. In over 100 TV, theater and film roles, Toy has played a wide assortment of characters, including parents, lawyers, doctors, scientists, veterans, teachers and even a wheelchair-using mountain climber. His credits include the Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator," "In the Line of Fire," "Kansas," "Equal Justice," "Born on the Fourth of July," "West Wing," "Matlock," "Profiler," "Diagnosis Murder," "Highway to Heaven" and "M*A*S*H." As a union activist in the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Toy initiated the inclusion of people with disabilities in the protected groups contract language. He subsequently helped create and was the first co-chair of the Interguild Committee of Performers with Disabilities. He has actively encouraged fellow performers with disabilities to participate in the guilds' efforts to create a more positive working environment for their disabled members. Toy often participated in negotiations with producers over such issues as non-stereotypical portrayals and discrimination in the casting process. Toy won an IDEAS Scholar fellowship from the World Institute on Disability in 1989 to study television programming by and about people with disabilities in England. He later was a segment producer and on-camera reporter for several segments of "Same Difference," one of the programs he studied. Toy's on-camera reporting continued in the U.S. as the guest host of a segment of "City View," a Los Angeles ABC public affairs show, and as the host of Evan Kemp's TV pilot "One Step Ahead."