Which Annie's did you see? If you're not comfortable stating names, which years?
Back in the day
I thought each Annie was very different from one another. Each actress brought something completely unique to the role. Same for the orphans e.g. no Tessie said "Oh my goodness!" the same way but each was cute and funny in her own way.
I found the 20th orphans robotic, though, and even the 30th. But that wasn't from lack of talent. It was poor direction, imo.
Is it possible this is a sign of the times? There is much more competition for wanna-be child performers with Nickelodeon, Disney channel and the 100+ other channels we didn't have back when Annie first appeared on Broadway. I think I read in one of the books that only 32 girls showed up for the first audition for the original Annie.
Now it seems like every kid wants to be a star (music, T.V., movies) and many parents are jumping on the bandwagon. With so much competition, in order to be remmebered you child must really stand out. I could be wrong, but I assume the parents encourage their children to be as perfect in their singing and dancing as possible as to not worry the director that the child might not perform perfectly in a show. Do the producers/directors seek out the kids who "nail" the audition? With so many kids to choose from, why not take the perfect, "robotic" kid who doesn't need any extra coaching? I don't know.
When I was a kid, adult celebrities were the majority and child celebrities were the minority, especially in the music industry. I don't think it occurred to many parents of young children to perfect anything they did from little league to dance recitals. Did you grow up in the 70's? Remember just being a KID? I didn't go to Gymboree, Kindermusic, Mini Monet art classes, or even Preschool, and I am a well-educated professional. Today there seems to be this unspoken competition among parents of young children. They want their kids to be "accomplished" at dance, sports, music, spelling, etc. by the time they're ten!! Scary if you ask me! The girls who auditioned for the OBC of Annie weren't like the kids who audition today. It's not anyone's fault. Times change and with that, expectations change. Any thoughts?