This line was put in for Annie20th, sadly. I agree with your assessment that they have Disneyfied the show and made it campy. Such a shame because this is a wonderful, poignant show and now? Blach.
As for having the understudy doing matinees, I don't think it's the 8 shows a week I think it's the tour schedule. Back in the day, the Bway Annie's and the touring Annie's, did the 8 shows. It's the one-show-here-one show-there schedule that breaks down one's stamina.
Why anyone would go on a non-equity bus/truck tour is beyond me, no matter how much one loves to act. But that's another thread, I suppose