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!

Annie Review by Jenna Bunce Dolgeville

What a joy this show was! Such amazing work from everyone involved to make it possible. Starting from the beginning: as soon as the lights came up it was clear that all of those little girls had some serious character development skills! It is so great to see raw talent in such young individuals. I was in awe.

How can you not talk about the main character? Wow. That girl has got some pipes! In my personal opinion, you normally wouldn’t expect as much out of such a young individual, but she really held her own among all the others. The way she lit up the entire stage from her little figure truly inspired me.

I must say that my favorite character was Ms. Hannigan. Isn’t it obvious? Each time she was onstage, she demanded your attention. I often found it incredibly hard to take my eyes off of her to watch someone else. I found her dancing especially amusing. As we are all trying to get the best out of this unique experience, there is always something to learn. I think it would be hard for anyone to nt take something away fro such a powerful performance. There are a couple other specific aspects of the show I enjoyed also. First, I believe the Star-To-Be’s voice really stood out from the voices of everyone else. With such a lovely tone and clarity, I was wishing I could take lessons from this woman! In the same song, NYC, I found the dynamics very exciting! Overall this first BTLYAP show was such a fantastic event to be a part of, including the special project we did before! I cannot wait for the next one!

Special thanks to our sonpor Bank of Utica, and Stanley Center for the Arts. #BTLYAP @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica

Annie Review by Josh Tanner of Oriskany

On September 22nd the Broadway Theatre League of Utica brought the production of Annie to the Stanley, captivating the audience with the constant scenery transitions, the powerful casting for memorable characters, and the fresh feeling the play gave to this classic production. Listening to all of the classic songs brought a nostalgic charm to the play. The production crew did a brilliant job with the overall dynamic nature of the set design and its ability to capture not only many different settings, but also different perspectives on those settings as well. Watching snow fall through the window and watching the sun rise over the streets of Manhattan are just a few examples of the intricate nature of the production. Also another highlight of the show was the Lynn Andrews interpretation of Miss Hannigan. Her performance stole the show and portrayed this iconic character spot-on. Her rendition of “Little Girls” was comedic but also it revealed her lust for money and power. Issie Swickle, Annie, also did a phenomenal job portraying one of the most iconic figures in theatre production. Her powerful voice was able to sing soft lullabies of “Maybe” to the orphans, but also rock her more upbeat songs like “Tomorrow” and “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.” The production was an all-around hit catching every aspect of the play. It was a great way to kick off a much anticipated season. On November 10th and 11th Elf is coming into town. Whether you are a patron of the arts or you want to welcome in the holiday spirit early this year, I would sincerely recommend buying tickets while they last. With such a marvelous performance done by the cast and crew of Annie, I am looking forward to see if Elf can match the performance.

Annie Review by Tessa Hildreth of Waterville

This past Monday I was able to start off my second year of being a Youth Ambassador at the beautiful Stanley Theatre seeing the beloved musical, Annie. Prior to this, I have never been a huge fan of this show, however I fell in love with the costumes features in this show. For example, the darling Issie Swickle who played Annie, stood out in her signature reds. From the beginning, Annie had on a red cardigan to match her vibrant red hair, symbolizing her firey spirit to go after what she wants. When the Warbuck's mansion was on stage, you could see maids and butlers dressed in head to toe green, a color associated with money; something Mr. Warbuck wasn't lacking! A second aspect of this show that stood out to me was the sets. The scene changes were nearly flawless, except for seeing some sets bopping around backstage! This made the show go so smoothly compared to a show that has rough scene changes. All in all, I enjoyed Annie, and am so thankful for the opportunity I had to see it! Thank you to The Stanley Theatre and The Bank of Utica for making this all happen! @broadwaytheatreleagueofutica #BTLYAP