This story is condensed from an interview with Issie Swickle that ran in the Florida Theater On Stage news October 4, 2014. Written by Bill Hirshman.
Issie Swickle. Remember that name. Not that you’d have trouble doing so. But remember when you first heard it, for bragging rights. Because you may be hearing it for a long time. Issie is just a nine-year-old with a taste for gymnastics. But charisma, a clarion voice, intense training and determination have won her the title role in the year-long national tour of ANNIE.
“I love to do this,” she gushed during a telephone interview on her lunch break from rehearsals in New York City. “It’s like a kind of choice of staying home and having fun or so loving my dream. Some people don’t have this chance. I’m very fortunate.”
Anyone doubting for a second that this is an option she embraces unreservedly needs only talk to her for a minute. “I know this is right for me. I love it and I won’t give it up until I get what my goal is. My goal is to become the best that I can be and get as many parts as I can.”
The steely words are softened with the modest voice of someone who believes she is the beneficiary of a gift – albeit one she has already worked very hard to develop – but also someone blessed with luck.
Her parents don’t know where it comes from. Her dad, Adam, is a family practice lawyer whose only performing might occur in front of a judge. Dana was a model years ago and sang with a band back in her youth. But that’s it.
“I think she feels at home on stage, she feels most comfortable on stage,” Dana said. “She just came out of rehearsal from act one and she had a smile that went from ear to ear.”
She seemed to enjoy singing and dancing from her earliest years, when her father nicknamed Isabel “Issie.” But her interest exploded when Dana accidently stumbled onto Broadway Kids Studio as a place to hold Issie’s fifth birthday party.
Will Issie Swickle become the next Adele Dazeem? Among her predecessors, besides Andrea McArdle, are Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Ringwald, Alyssa Milano, Jamie Lynn Seigler and Debbie Gibson.
That’s her plan – whether it’s being the star or a chorus member, although a lead part is fine with her.
“I don’t care where I am or what I’m performing. I just feel like, when I’m on stage, it’s for fun for me and it’s what I want to do until my last breath.”
ANNIE will be at Wharton Center December 16-21, so there’s still time to buy tickets by visiting the show page here, stopping by the ticket office, or by calling us at 1-800-WHARTON! Students get specially prices $25 tickets so don’t miss out!