Thursday, December 11, 2014

Elf Review by Tino Laterza of Frankfort Schuyler

On Monday and Tuesday I was able to see "Elf" at the Stanley Theatre thanks to the Broadway Theatre League. This show was so amazing I had to go back and see it again! The show was so much like the movie but had some unique parts that made it stand out. I thought that the musical numbers that were preformed fit the show so well. I still have a few tunes stuck in my head! One other thing that really kept my interest was the choreography. The cast that was on stage dancing were so in sync and perfectly on beat, you would think that they were robots! Overall this was a spectacular show and I was very thankful to be able to go and see it twice! Thank you again to the @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica and Utica Bank for making all this possible and continuing the Youth Ambassador Program! And I can't wait for the next show in January!! #BTLYAP

Elf Review by Oliva Phaneuf of Webb

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas! After seeing Elf the musical on Monday November 10th at the Stanley, I’ve been feeling in the Christmas spirit!! Before I saw the show I was very skeptical about it. I wasn’t really sure what to think about one of my favorite Christmas movies being transformed into a Broadway musical, but once it was intermission I really realized that this show was actually pretty good! One of my favorite songs was “Nobody Cares About Santa” this song had a jazzy feel to it. At the opening of this song i could hear either a clarinet or a soprano sax solo which was wicked good! From my seat I could even see the Bari Sax player in the pit! The choreography of this show was great! Ally and I had a chance to talk to Daniel Patrick Smith at the Elf cast party and he said “that the choreography looked easy if you watch but doing it and learning it was difficult, there were a lot of little moves!” I do have to say that I was a little disappointed with the backdrops. I thought it seemed oversized, maybe they belonged in a cartoon,even though it was Elf. I think maybe they could have done a better job with the backdrops of New York. The big number that really sealed the “I like this show” deal was “The Story of Buddy the Elf” this number was huge! The actors seemed to have so much energy in this song! I still have this song stuck in my head! I would just like to thank the Broadway Theater League, and the Bank of Utica for giving us Youth Ambassadors the chance to see these great shows! Can’t wait for Nice Work if You Can Get It! @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica #BTLYAP

Elf Review by Miranda Dornburgh of Holland Patent

 "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear" and that's exactly what the whole cast and crew of Elf did this past Monday and Tuesday night at the Stanley Theater!! I was highly surprised at the fact that Elf the musical followed the movie so spot on. Almost every quotable line was tossed in to make the musical even that more memorable.

Daniel Patrick Smith or as the North Pole knows him as buddy the elf was a perfect fit for this role. He was so energetic and enthusiastic that he had us all believing in Santa again! While buddy is in New York City he stops at the Macy's section of their North Pole. He shows them tips on how to make the store "Sparklejollytwinklejingley" and is stopped at the end in awe at no one other then the talented Jovie. Jovie is played by a Ms. Daryn Harrell who has a power house voice. She also made the full house at the Stanley look at her as if she held the Christmas spirit.

The set designs let me down a little when I saw them all look as if they have been drawn right from a cartoon. The costumes though done by a crafty man named Gregg Barnes, put a perfect touch on the elves. They all wore bright popping colors, just as a little jolly elf should. The small pit band had a strong and filling sound the entire performance. The songs fit well with the musical, so Christmassy and jolly they had me still humming the tunes when I left. The song that will surly stick with every family and have them in the Christmas spirit is when they sang "The Story of Buddy the Elf". This song was so heartwarming and touching. This musical brought the Christmas cheer to Mohawk Valley. I'm so ready for Christmas now. Oh and to see Santa and say "I know him!!" And maybe sing him a few Christmas-grams while I'm at it.

I would like to extend my thanks to the Bank of Utica who let the Youth ambassadors experience such amazing shows at the Stanley Theater!! This was a great kick off to my holiday season!! I encourage all of you folks to watch the movie if you get the chance too. Also I would suggest that you all take a trip to the Stanley on January 27 or 28 and see the next musical "Nice Work if you can get it"!! @broadwaytheaterleagueofutica #BTLYAP

Elf Review by Julie Rybka of New York Mills

Thanks to the Bank of Utica and The Broadway Theatre League, I was recently given the opportunity to watch the magical story of Buddy the Elf live on stage in the musical adaption of “Elf”. Having been a huge fan of the movie, I had high expectations for this show. I was, simply put, not disappointed. The show featured many fun, new Christmas songs that I had never heard before, but it still remained loyal to the storyline of the beloved comedy. I was thrilled when I heard my favorite movie lines had made it into the show and laughed even harder at some of the jokes they added in. The performers executed their roles in a way I was not expecting. From the dancing to the singing, I was pleasantly surprised. “Elf” was a great show for adults and children alike and was the perfect way to start off this holiday season. Happy holidays and I cannot wait to see everyone at “It’s Nice Work If You Can Get It” on January 27th and 28th! #BTLYAP – at Stanley Theater. 

Elf Review by Brett Hames of Clinton

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing out loud for all to hear! With those words, Elf the Broadway musical took the the stage. Starring Daniel Patrick Smith as Buddy the Elf.

Raised around Elves in the North Pole, Buddy grows up thinking he is also an Elf until one day when Santa tells him he is, in fact, Human. Santa tells him that Buddy's real father is a well off man who lives in new York City and publishes children's books. Longing for a place to belong and filled with hope, Buddy sets off for the Big Apple. When he arrives and finds his father he doesn't get the warm welcome he was expecting but through trials and fun he creates a new home with his dad and girlfriend.

Through magical and wintry sets, the story of Buddy the Elf is told on the Stanley theater's stage.Thanks to the Broadway Theatre League, sponsored by the Bank of Utica, for this wonderful opportunity to see Elf the Broadway Musical. @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica #‎BTLYAP‬

Monday, October 20, 2014

Annie Review by Courtney Widgerson of Clinton

“It’s a hard knock life” if you don’t go see Annie September 22nd or 23rd at the Stanley. You may know the classic story of Annie, but you have never seen it with the fabulous national tour cast. Annie first opened in 1977 and ran for 6 years. After its 2012 Broadway revival, Annie has come back for a national tour. It’s first show is right here in Utica at the Stanley. There is nothing more amazing than going to see a childhood favorite performed on stage live. Unforgettable songs such as “Tomorrow”, “Little Girls”, and “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” will be stuck in your head for days. With the iconic characters such as Annie, Miss Hannigan, and of course Annie’s dog, Sandy, it is no surprise that The Broadway Theatre League would choose it to be their first show of the season. Go to for tickets and more information. Special thanks to Bank of Utica for sponsoring the Youth Ambassador Program throgh the @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica #BTLYAP

Annie Review by Abby Griffin of New Hartford

Exactly a week ago, the @broadwaytheatreleagueofuica presented the timeless musical; Annie at the Stanley Center for the Arts. Music lovers everywhere grew up with this classic story of a rambunctious orphan who finds out that no one is an orphan for long. It was a memorable show that will remain in the hearts of all who experienced its wonder.

Annie was portrayed by little Issie Swickle. Her sweet melodious voice filled the theatre with classics like Tomorrow and Maybe. Though Annie has been played by famous names like Sarah Jessica Parker and Aileen Quinn, Swickle put her own personal spin on the role. Her lines and songs were all performed with her own personality. Swickle was joined by six of the most adorable “orphans” who added laughs and pizzaz. The abundance of young talent was astounding to say the least. Gilgamesh Tagget or Daddy Warbucks, and Lynn Andrews or Miss Hannigan added humor and love to the story of or beloved Annie. Every cast member smiled through the whole production and the dedication of the cast was truly inspirational.

Annie was a technical show. It had numerous large sets and smaller pieces that went along with the sets. The crew moved every piece around with such finesse, it was difficult to distinguish the transitions. The fluidity was like nothing I had seen before. The amount of movement was unbelievable and it was executed perfectly. The beaming cast moved about the ever-changing sets and it made out to be a one-of-a-kind experience. In fact, on “Christmas Day” it snowed in the windows of the set!

From the cast to the sets to the producers and directors, Annie was a show that I will never forget. For a few hours the audience was transported to the 1930s, living one of the most treasured stories of all time.

I’d like to thank the @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica for presenting such an entertaining show and also thank them for this wonderful experience that is YAP. It is so important to advocate for the arts and the youth of our community and this program is such an amazing chance to be a part of it all. I would also like to thank our wonderful sponsor the Bank of Utica. Be sure to join us at the next show:Elf the Musical. It is sure to be a fun holiday treat. The shows are scheduled in November so get your tickets while you can! I’m so excited to see where this program takes us throughout the 2014-2015 season, and Annie was just the beginning!