By Lela Nargi
Ten-year-old Issie Swickle is the latest "Annie" to take the U.S. by storm. Currently touring with the traveling production, she's set to hit Brooklyn, NY's Kings Theatre in December—just in time for the holiday season. We caught up with Swickle in Seattle, where she was lamenting the rain, to chat about life on the road, what she loves about New York, and what a child actor does in her "free" time.
What grade are you in, Issie? I’m in 5th grade. After this year, I'll be in middle school.
What's a typical day like for you when you're on the road? We wake up in morning, go to school, go get dinner, then we come back after an hour and do the show. When the show ends, it's 11:00 p.m. We just do that over and over. After one or two weeks, we go to a different city. It’s really fun. I like seeing new places, that’s mostly what I like to do. It’s really nice to see cool new places that I never get to see living in Florida.
How does school work? We have someone who travels with us. Her name is Miss Oates and she’s very, very nice. She comes on the bus with us wherever we go for one week or two weeks. We find a room in the hotel for school, so everyday we have five hours of school before dinner.
What city are you in right now? I’m touring in Seattle. It’s a nice place, but it rains a lot. It does rain in Florida, but not as much as Seattle.
You're coming to New York in December. Have you been here before? We haven’t performed yet, we only had a rehearsal in New York. We spent three weeks there, then went to Utica. But I’m always in New York. We take lot of family vacations there, so I get to see Times Square. I think it’s a cool place, with all the lights and the stores. The stores are all twice as big as in Florida! I think maybe my favorite is Toys R Us. It’s so big, and it has lot of things you can do there. I mean, it’s huge, and it has so many stories. I got my scooter there. I did ride it around the city, but couldn’t ride that much because it was very crowded. It was still fun, though.
Your mom, Dana, is with you now. Dana, what are you looking forward to about New York during your next stay? I love to see the shows. When we come in early November to do some things for the theater, we'll stay in Times Square and I want to take Issie to see either Wicked or Finding Neverland. I also just love walking around; there's so much light in the city.
Issie, did you get your love of theater from your mom? No, I went to a camp in Florida and they taught me to do theater. But my mom when she was younger was a good singer.
Does your family get to see you perform often? My dad saw every show in Ft. Lauderdale for two weeks, and I think my mom saw 12 shows in a row. I also have an older brother, Max. He’s turning 14 in October. He is a genius with electronics and school and very athletic. He likes to come see my show. I think he’s seen it a million times. I'm not an athletic person but I’m good at dancing. Max is good at football.
Are there a lot of other kids in the show with you? Not a lot, only six girls. We’re kind of all like sisters; we all bond really well. I always wanted a sister but now I have six of them.
Photographs: Issie headshot & Issie Swickle and Sunny (c) Joan Marcus 2014; Kings Theatre (c) Matt Lambros 2015.