|BRILYN JOHNSTON (Young Nala alt.) Brilyn is thrilled to be making her Broadway tour debut. Credits include various productions at Raleigh Area Children’s Theatre. Brilyn has a passion for performing and also enjoys piano, dance, and competing gymnastics with the USAG XCELL program. Brilyn loves her family, church family and friends! Instagram: @planet_brilyn|
Richard A. Phillips Jr.
|RICHARD A. PHILLIPS JR. (Young Simba alt.) Richard is thrilled to be making his Broadway debut! He is a bi-lingual (English/Mandarin) student from Queens, NY and is grateful to God, his Parents & family, friends and Peggy at The SquarePeg Group, Inc. Thank you Bonnie Shumofsky, Avenues The World School, Abrams. Recent work: “Sesame Street,” “Nickelodeon,” “Power” (Starz). Instagram: @razps|
Walter Russell III
|WALTER RUSSELL III (Young Simba alt.) Walter was seen bringing his Harlem swag to Nickelodeon’s “Lip Sync Battle Shorties” and Everytown for Gun Safety’s video “Enough!” featuring the music of Sia and his NDI peers. Thank you to his PUSH Dance Company, DST, Agape all friends and family, GiGi, Tia and Mom for a ton of support! IG @WR3HRLM.|
|CELINA SMITH (Young Nala alt.) Celina is a 9-year-old honor student from Atlanta and loves entertaining. She is overjoyed about joining The Lion King cast. Celina’s recent achievements include professional voice-over work and outstanding showcases with AGI Entertainment. Celina is thankful for her family and Natarsha Garcia for their support. Follow her on Instagram @littlecelinasmith.|
The Spokesman-Review – 01/25/2019
“As young Simba, Richard A. Phillips proved to be a charming performer. His ‘I Can’t Wait to be King’ was well sung. As young Nala, Celina Smith is a pint-size powerhouse in ‘Nao Tsa Tsa,’ sung with Simba and the baboon Rafiki.”
Equality 365 – 12/20/2018
“The young (and enthusiastic) cubs are played by Joziyah Jean-Felix (Simba) and Danielle W. Jalade (Nala). Their energy is contagious and everyone in the audience immediately identifies with their restlessness and frustration at being a child and being responsible. The song ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ absolutely belongs to these two, and they look like they are having the time of their lives doing it.”
Boise Weekly – 10/19/2018
“When it comes to acting chops, 11-year-old Salahedin Safi stole the show with his energetic performance of young Simba. Not only were his antics a delight to watch, his voice and inflections were nearly identical to those of voice actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Simba in the 1994 animated film. That attention to detail helped turn The Lion King into a world for all ages to get lost in, even if just for a night.”
Bristol Observer – 08/03/2018
“The young members of the cast, Salahedin Safi as the Young Simba—the lion king referenced in the title—and his lioness betrothed Danielle W. Jalade as the Young Nala, brought a youthful energy to the show. And they were the necessary entry point for the younger members of the audience to relate to the story.”
In The Spotlight – 08/03/2018
“But Salahedin Safi as ‘Young Simba’ and Danielle W. Jalade as ‘Young Nala’ leave the biggest impression, probably because they are the same age and energy level as their contemporaries in the audience.”
Lansing City Pulse – 07/19/2018
“As Mufasa’s young Simba for Friday’s performance, Salahedin Safi imbues the perfect blend of restless curiosity, naivety and humility topped with a great voice to carry the first act to its inevitable end. His young partner Nala played Friday by Danielle W. Jalade matches Safi with strength and wit despite her reduced stage time.”
Encore Michigan – 07/17/2018
“Salahedin Safi, who I saw, has a voice that channels the young Michael Jackson.”
Lansing State Journal – 07/16/2018
“His son Simba (played by a charismatic and talented Salahedin Safi) is heartbroken and runs away.”
RevueWM – 07/15/2018
“Flash forward a few years and Simba (played in last night’s performance by the delightful Salahedin Safi) has grown into a young cub searching for adventure, which he unfortunately finds.”
Mostefinitely – 07/14/2018
“As their junior counterparts, Danielle W. Jalade and Salahedin Safi as Young Nala and Young Simba bring a fun and youthful energy to their roles. They hold their own on a stage filled with large puppets and set pieces.”
Red Carpet Crash – 06/18/2018
“Both Ramon Reed and [adult Simba] convey a playfulness that is infectious, while Gloria Manning and [adult Nala] bring Nala to life with passion.”
KC Applauds – 05/11/2018
“Danielle W. Jalade, Joziyah Jean-Felix, Gloria Manning, and Ramon Reed give good support to the main characters and deserve credit.”
BroadwayWorld Birmingham – 03/20/2018
“Young Simba (alternating between Joziyah Jean-Felix and Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (alternating between Danielle W. Jalade and Gloria Manning) are the best of friends. They light up the stage with giving playful energy and heart tugging emotion into the roles.”
BroadwayWorld National Tours – 02/21/2018
“This current tour also boasts a lion’s share of talent (I had to), with Young Simba (alternating between Joziyah Jean-Felix and Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (alternating between Danielle W. Jalade and Gloria Manning) bringing their characters to life on stage with ease and grace well beyond their years. Each channels the playful innocence that lies at the heart of their character and owns the naivete of Nala and Simba in their early years. Reed also provides a powerful performance that evokes great emotion surrounding the death of his father in the wildebeest stampede…”
Orlando Sentinel – 02/18/2018
“The little girl seated next to me squealed her approval of the child performers on Wednesday night, and I agreed (without the squealing). As lion cubs Simba and Nala, Joziyah Jean-Felix and Danielle W. Jalade (who share the roles with other performers) have charisma and stage presence to spare”
Orlando Weekly – 02/16/2018
“Both young Simba (Joziyah Jean-Felix, alternating with Ramon Reed) and his adult counterpart…bring a charming boyish bounce”
Orlando Senteniel – 02/15/2018
“As lion cubs Simba and Nala, Joziyah Jean-Felix and Danielle W. Jalade (who share the roles with other performers) have charisma and stage presence to spare”
Broadway World National Tours – 12/15/2017
“Young Simba was played at this performance by the rambunctious Ramon Reed, who was joyous to watch as he learned to roar.”
Buffalo News – 12/15/2017
“The 11-year-old sitting with me was in awe of the entire production, but she was especially taken with the children appearing as young Simba and Nala. Joziyah Jean-Felix and Ramon Reed alternate as Simba; Danielle W. Jalade and Gloria Manning are Nala.”
DC Metro Theatre Arts – 11/19/2017
“Where on Earth do the producers find these marvelous kid performers? Young Simba (Joziyah Jean-Felix, alternating with Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (Danielle W. Jalade, alternating with Gloria Manning) prove agile, joyous guides who coax us—in ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’—to see the world again through the innocent eyes of childhood.”
UMD The Writer’s Bloc – 11/18/2017
“Young Simba (Joziyah Jean-Felix, Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (Danielle W. Jalade, Gloria Manning) were perfectly charming as they rode around on giant birds and snuck through the elephant graveyard”
Syracuse.com – 10/31/2017
“Young Simba, was played with joyful energy by Ramon Reed for the performance I attended. He shares the role with Joziyah Jean-Felix.”
Visionary Minds – 10/31/2017
“Young Nala and Simba, Danielle Jalade (10) and Joziyah Jean-Felix (12) parents must be so proud of their hardwork and dedication in this show. The ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ number showed how talented they are and that they can carry a scene with or without adults as if they have performing experience beyond their years.”
www Bios | Schedule | Reviews
ISSIE SWICKLE (Annie) from Davie, FL. National tour debut as "Annie!" Huge thanks to Broadway Kids Studio, Michelle Ameerally, Broadway Artists Alliance, Jennifer Johns, Jonathan Brenner, Nancy Carson, Joy Dewing, Verna and Family. Mom, Dad, Max this is for you!www
ANGELINA CARBALLO (July, Molly u/s) is a fun-loving nine year old who is thrilled to be in this amazing production. Thanks to Actor’s Playhouse, BAA, Carson-Adler, Troika Entertainment, Joy Dewing, STA, PPDC, Encore, family and friends for fueling her passion in musical theater.
ADIA DANT (Pepper, Annie u/s) is excited to make her Broadway Tour debut at age 9. Regional: Eastside Story, Peter Pan, Annie. Special thanks to God, My Family, Nancy Carson, Walker Clark, Bob Marks, Karen Dryer, Lynne Mlott, Julie Bandy, Lynn Herrick, Janine Molinari.
LILLYBEA IRELAND (Tessie) from Evansville, Indiana; enjoys singing, golf, and snuggling her dog Sweetie. Love and thanks to friends, family, parents & siblings (Andrew, Maddie, & Nick) who said dream BIG and follow it! Send smiles and follow her journey Twitter@lillybeaIreland :)
SYDNEY SHUCK (Kate) 11 years old, from New York . STAGE: School House Rock, Jr.; The Little Mermaid, Jr. (Ariel) FILM: Live a Little (Haley) . I want to thank GOD, my family, Nancy Carson & Peggy Stamps!
Lilly Mae Stewart
LILLY MAE STEWART (Molly) Lilly Mae's making her National Tour Debut! Showboat (Asolo Repertory), Whistle Down the Wind (Theatre Zone), Fiddler on the Roof (Free Fall), Entertainment Revue, Les Miserable, Annie. Kisses to Kathryn Mitchell, Cynthia Ashford, Trapper Felides, family & friends! www.backstage.com/kathryndutton-mitchell/www
ISABEL WALLACH (Duffy) is delighted to make her professional debut in Annie at 10! Special thanks to the Annie creative team, Joy Dewey Casting, Kristen, Amelia, Sue, Erin, and my Kidz Theater family. Much love to my amazing family and friends – especially Emma!
BWW New Orleans - 02/10/15
“Issie Swickle is sweet and sincere as Annie...Finally, the orphans are enthusiastic and spontaneous"
NOLA.com - 02/10/15
“Young actress Issie Swickle impresses as the 11-year-old title orphan, and she nicely balances scrappiness, vulnerability, wide-eyed excitement and flat-out cuteness. Plus there's nothing little about her voice, which soars on the show's hopeful signature ballad, "Tomorrow."...Swickle has lots of heart and an impressive amount of spunk..."
NOLA.com - 02/04/15
“Issie Swickle takes on the title role with a spunky, determined performance. She sings her now-classic numbers, such as "Maybe," "Tomorrow" and "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here," with conviction and a big voice, while still sounding and acting like a kid...Among the gaggle of orphans, the adorable Lilly Mae Stewart stands out as Molly, the littlest of the girls. She steals every scene that she's in."
Baltimore Sun - 01/22/15
“[Swickle] delivers dialogue and songs confidently, and handles stage business like a pro...The ensemble of Annie's orphan pals is certainly a dynamic bunch, capable of gutsy singing and dancing (keep an eye on tiny Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly)."
DC Metro Arts - 01/21/15
“Annie may find happiness elsewhere, but audiences won’t be so eager to leave the delightful company of the little girls at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. That pint-sized chorus line hits a homer with “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” nailing all the regimented kicks and twirls while delivering Martin Charnin’s witty lyrics through adoringly toothy grins.
All the young actresses here are winners, with Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly melting most of the hearts as the moppets’ mascot. All of the others, ranging in age from 9 to 11, get oohs and awws of their own in that extended radio spot parody, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.”
Then again, this show’s little orphans have a truly first-rate performing model in young Issie Swickle, who is sensational as Annie. A belter with a distinctive and musical quality to her voice, Miss Swickle never misses a beat nor a punch line, and tugs at our heartstrings even when sharing the stage with another scene-stealer, like that handsome mutt that plays her dog Sandy (Macy or Sunny, depending on which performance you attend)."
MLife - 01/13/15
“West Michigan audiences are bound to be charmed by the all-in, enthusiastic performances of a large ensemble cast featuring seven children, including Issie Swickle as the title character. Swickle exudes confidence and spirit, transitioning easily from quiet solos ("Maybe") to energetic dance routines ("It's the Hard Knock Life") to big, show-stopping numbers ("Tomorrow"). She and Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks (Michigan's own Gilgamesh Taggett) have an easy chemistry, something they both share with the lovely Grace Farell (Ashley Edler)."
Vital Voice - 01/13/15
“Issie Swickle, who played Annie, did a knock out performance, but there are two other cast members I would like to give big props to Lilly Mae Stewart (Molly) and Lynn Andrews (Miss Hannigan). Molly is the youngest and smallest of the orphans, but Lilly brought her character to a level that took a stand above the rest. Being full of life and cute as a button, I look forward as to where her acting career takes her."
UT Daily Beacon - 01/08/15
“In this production, that little girl was Issie Swickle, whom otherwise should be known as the perfect Annie. For such a young person, she impressively commanded the stage with her powerful voice and enthusiasm. Waiting for something to go wrong proved fruitless as the show went on. She is Annie.
It seemed, though, that all the youngsters ruled the stage. Second only to Annie were the group of orphans she affectionately called ‘the kids.’ As the later hour approached, it seemed at some point they’d show their weariness, but like Swickle, all seven of them sang and danced like they’d been doing so for years. Often accompanied by no older actors on stage, they had free will to do just about whatever they wanted. They chose excellence."
The Daily Times - 01/07/15
“Issie Swickle...hit all the right notes and proved to be an enjoyable Annie."
Encore Michigan - 12/17/14
“On opening night, Annie was played by Adia Dant, and Dant's usual role of Pepper was played by Angela Pallaini. Dant was as adorable as one expects from Annie. Thanks to her charisma, costuming and red hair, she always owned the stage when she was on it. All eyes were drawn to this little spitfire who could alternately charm and flame. All of the orphans made a fantastic ensemble, their dances looking like a natural play and their songs simply the way they communicated with each other through the rough life they found themselves in."
Lansing City Pulse - 12/17/14
“As the title character, understudy Adia Dant did a remarkably serviceable job opening night."
Lansing State Journal - 12/17/14
“Much of that energy comes from the youngsters in the cast, who portray the orphans including Annie, who fail to be intimidated by the cruel Miss Hannigan who runs the orphanage. From their opening number, "It's a Hard Knock Life," charging about the stage with mops and buckets, these youngsters captivated the audience. That of course, includes Annie, who on opening night was played by an understudy, Adia Dant, substituting on an hour's notice for Issie Swickle, who is expected to return to the role for the rest of the run...she quickly hit her stride, and it was soon clear that this young actress could easily carry the show. She is a nimble dancer with a strong voice, and the ability to express Annie's spunkiness and optimism."
Vizion Magazine - 12/17/14
“Florida native, Issie Swickle, makes her National Tour debut as the title character, bringing energy and life to the iconic character. The nine year old actress proves to live up to the role as she sings some of Broadway most treasured numbers such as "Hard Knock Life" and "Tomorrow". Of course, Swickle is not alone on stage when it comes to child actors. She is accompanied by many talented young individuals who have embodied their roles as well. The orphans include Angelina Carballo, Adia Dant, LillyBea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, Lilly Mae Stewart, and Isabel Wallach."
Greater Lansing Theatre - 12/16/14
“The orphan ensemble was adorable and energetic."
RiverFront Times - 12/08/14
“Issie Swickle, who in the titular role of Annie delivers an unfailingly sunny performance, holds her own in numbers like "Tomorrow" and "Maybe." She plays well opposite Gilgamesh Taggett"
BroadwayWorld St. Louis - 12/03/14
“Issie Swickle does a very nice job as Annie, giving this spirited tyke just the right mix of spunk and pathos required by the role."
STL Today - 12/05/14
“The big, velvety orchestra lavishes the score with love — and so does Issie Swickle, who plays Annie. With her powerful voice and sunny manner, she serves the material in style...The cast of precocious kids show a level of poise and stage presence beyond their years. Led by Annie herself (Issie Swickle), the girls, Lilly Mae Stewart, Adia Dant, Isabel Wallach, Angelina Carballo, Lillybea Ireland and Sydney Schuck, are all as talented as they are adorable."
Eagle Tribune - 12/01/14
“Swickle, a 9-year-old vocal powerhouse...The ensemble and supporting cast are strong — especially all those little orphans."
Entertainment Monthly - 11/23/14
“Optimistic and genuine, Swickle fits well into the role’s almost forty-year-old shoes, showing her ability to both lead the younger cast and keep up with the older."
T2Online - 11/21/14
“The girls are little, but gifted with competent voices."
The Chicago Beat - 11/20/14
“... the orphans are a winning group, particularly Adia Dant as brutish Pepper, Angelina Carballo as sassy July and Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly, the youngest of the gang. Werner’s Lily is hilariously adorable..."
Chicago Now - 11/20/14
“First off, the show must have a strong Annie and Issie Swickle fills the bill with her commanding voice and stage presence....The orphans were on target with the small curly haired Lilly Mae Stewart playing a fiery spirited Molly."
Huffington Post - 11/20/14
“the clear-voiced Issie Swickle finds Annie's strength and heart. Clearly the audience, including the rows of young theatergoers, bought into the orphan's rise to success story. The rest of the orphans also delight, including a scene-stealing Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly (she'll make an exceptional Annie one day)."
Sun Times - 11/19/14
“To the role that is as demanding of its little female star as “Billy Elliot” is of its little male star, Swickle brings the quality of a pre-pubescent Ethel Merman. She has a big, interesting voice, excellent diction and an unaffected spirit...It is Molly (Lilly Mae Stewart), the tiny little orphan she befriends, who easily steals every scene she’s in with her elfin spontaneity and wit. It is impossible to take your eyes off her, whether she is dancing with the somewhat older orphans, hiding in a laundry basket or playing a ventriloquist’s dummy."
Wicked Local - Abington - 11/10/14
“As the resourceful heroine who just wants to find her long-lost parents, sweet-voiced Issie Swickle imbues Annie with winning warmth and believability. She is especially affecting on the gentle lament, “Maybe,” which opens both acts. Swickle is ably aided by a terrific troupe of young performers – Angelina Carballo, Adia Dant, Lillybea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, Lilly Mae Stewart, and Isabel Wallach – as her fellow orphans. "
Boston Globe - 11/07/14
“A 9-year-old actress by the wonderful name of Issie Swickle plays Annie, and she’s terrific, particularly when she’s singing classics like “Tomorrow” and “Maybe.” Her bell-clear voice rings out every little emotional turn in the lyrics...In the show’s long history, Miss Hannigan’s bunk beds have hosted a few future stars. If you go, keep your eye on 9-year-old Lilly Mae Stewart, who plays the littlest orphan, Molly, with thermonuclear cuteness. She tumbles into a laundry cart like a slapstick veteran, but draws the eye just standing there. At the least, she’ll be playing Annie somewhere in a year or two. "
Mom's Favorite Stuff - 11/07/14
“Issie Swickle (Annie) and Lynn Andrews (Miss Hannigan) were standouts, but the entire cast was fabulous."
Theatre Mirror - 11/07/14
“The canine co-star interacts with 9-year-old star, Issie Swickle, of Davie, Fla., as though they belong together. Making her tour debut, Issie is a talented little girl with a big voice, an inspiration as Annie. She’s a force to watch for in the future. So’s plucky scene stealer Lilly Mae Steward, also making her national tour debut as little orphan, Molly. She dances, tumbles, sings, and draws sympathy and laughter like a seasoned performer."
The LFB - 11/06/14
“9 year-old Issie Swickle who plays Annie was simply a delight to watch. She seemed comfortable in her role and had an infectious and energetic personality. She performed her musical numbers with ease and confidence.
The cast of orphans were talented and did an amazing job especially Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly. I don’t think she could have been any cuter!"
On Boston Stages - 10/30/14
“Issie Swickle has all the qualities you’d want in an Annie — brimming with confidence and charisma, and a voice that might reach the last row of the cavernous Wang even without a microphone.
She’s in sync with whomever she’s acting with, be it the other orphans — Lily Mae Stewart, Adia Dant, Isabel Wallach, Angelina Carballo, Lillybea Ireland, and Sydney Shuck — Miss Hannigan (Lynn Andrews), the odious caretaker of the orphanage, Daddy Warbucks (Gilgamesh Taggett) or President Franklin Roosevelt (Allan Baker)."
PGH Collective - 10/30/14
“Issie Swickle as Annie exuded a powerhouse of talent, capturing the audience with her delicately powerful voice and sharp-witted humor. It was a joy to watch her control the stage. Her blinding sense of optimism and faint shadow of wonder, seemingly crippled by her deplorable conditions, shows us the meaning of walking through fire with a smile."
Triblive - 10/29/14
“Issie Swickle's Annie is the warm and caring but resilient survivor we want our daughters and granddaughters to be...Annie and her six fellow orphans hit all the expected notes, musically and emotionally."
Edge Miami - 10/09/14
“In the title role, native Floridian Issie Swickle does a great job. While her voice is not as rich as that of Andrea McArdle, the role's creator, it is a fine voice that rings out loud, clear and consistently on pitch. She has the look and the character down pat and she charms the audience from the moment she steps onto the stage."
Florida Theater On Stage - 10/08/14
“The second reason to see this Annie is Annie. Savor the national bow of Davie resident Issie Swickle as she nails the title role with the polish and chops of someone a lot older than her nine years
Now here’s a surprise: She can belt out a song with best of them and she has performer’s pizzazz without self-consciously mugging for applause. But Swickle’s not some blinding strobe light pulling focus from everyone else like such forces of nature as the original Annie, Andrea McArdle. She’s not a dynamo (although she reportedly has that quality), she’s not a mini-Merman (although she reportedly has that ability). She actually acts the part, not performs it – which is probably why Charnin chose her over about 500 other applicants. It’s especially evident in the non-belt numbers such as the wistful opener “Maybe.”
Swickle inhabits a street savvy, scrappy survivor who has spent her entire childhood in a soul-crushing orphanage in the depth of the Depression. So when she sings out loud and strong about the sun coming out tomorrow, this Annie knows whereof she speaks.
Yes, she’s adorable, winsome and charming, but neither she nor the show is a two-dimensional cartoon character. When she makes her second act entrance in the red ringlets and jumper, high-kicking down a curving stairway in the Warbucks mansion, the beams emanating from her face seem genuine even as they are pure Broadway fantasy. To paraphrase the old pop standard, you’re gonna hear from her.
Of course, the moppets are simultaneously appealing and might pick your pocket if you gave them a chance: Adia Dant, Isabel Wallach, Lillybea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, the impossibly cute Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly, and Miamian Angelina Carballo."
Edit International - 10/08/14
“There are seven children in the orphanage and, having been a father and seeing countless amateur performances with children making childish mistakes on stage it was astounding to see this young group performing perfectly with professional confidence."
SouthFlorida.com - 10/08/14
“And for us South Floridians, there is the added thrill of watching one of our own, Davie’s Issie Swickle, play Annie with a relaxed confidence."
SFL Insider - 10/07/14
“The lead role of Annie was played by Issie Swickle, a Davie resident, who was making her national tour debut. Without the slightest bit of jitters, she was on point all night. The thing that I typically find with younger performers is that they don’t provide all the physical antics that should be aligned with their performance, yet Swickle did so in rare form. She along with her orphanage friends really made it difficult to not smile throughout the show, especially during their masterfully choreographed performance of a Hard Knock Life."