Watching These Little Girls Get Cast in Annie Will Make Your Week

Over the weekend, PBS aired ANNIE: It's a Hard Knock Life, From Script to Stage, a documentary about the classic musical's current Broadway revival. Perhaps you missed it because you (wrongly) thought you had better things to do on a Friday night than stay home and watch an Annie documentary on PBS. If that's the case, I strongly question your life choices and direct you to PBS' website where you can currently stream the whole thing for free.


Much of ANNIE: It's a Hard Knock Life, From Script to Stage focuses on the challenges surrounding a production thats cast is made up mostly of children. Theater kids can be a particular nightmare (I can say that — I was one) and wrangling them is an overwhelming task. That said, there's something especially awesome (and unsettling) about when its pulled off successfully and you can watch a group of 7-12-year-olds perform perfect choreography and harmonies.

One thing that you miss by focussing on child actors as opposed to adult ones is the tension that comes with the awareness that success could go away at any moment. Most adult actors have experienced countless failures in their careers and that sense of tragedy and nervousness tends to both mar and amplify their accomplishments. These kids however are just starting out in their careers and have already been cast in Annie. (Ugh, imagine how much they'll brag when they start going to theater camp at Stagedoor Manor four years from now.)

It's rare that you get to see such raw, sincere enthusiasm in a documentary about theater. These little girls are excited they get to be there, but also blissfully unaware of the status that being on Broadway comes with. (They know it's a big deal, they just don't know how big of a deal.) The doc shows short clips of a few of the kids finding out that they were cast as orphans and it's great and heartwarming to watch — the girls are so over the moon and honest in their happiness that it's infectious and might leave you feeling like you've been cast on Broadway yourself.

In the documentary, the clips of the girls hearing that they had been cast are cut far too short, but — thankfully — the generous folks at PBS have made longer versions available online. Watch, enjoy and talk about the opposite of a hard knock life.



Stage parents are and odd breed. Watching these videos it's clear that the parents in the first two videos knew before hand that the child was going to get the call. The parents would rather set the child up to catch the reaction on video, than tell the kid the good news themselves.