Meet Ella & Bill Stanley
Bill & Ella Stanley are a fab Father-Daughter team in ANNIE! Bill is our Musical Director and Ella plays the orphan, Kate! We caught up with them between shows!
Bill at the Keyboard
Bill: I was raised in Logan, Utah. My parents always encouraged arts & music. I studied classical piano in college, but I also enjoyed playing rock & Jazz on the side. So I was very attracted to musical theatre because of the wide variety of styles in the repertoire.
The Annie movie was very popular when I was a kid. In my school, it wasn't cool for boys to like Annie, so I don't think I saw the movie, although I remember many of the songs were played regularly on AM radio. I didn't encounter the show again until 1995 when I was hired as music director at the Surflight Theatre.
Ella: My Mom is a professional singer and actress, my Daddy is a piano player, and my stepdad Roger is a drummer. Daddy plays piano for Shuffles Tap School, and so I started taking tap and musical theatre classes there when I was four.
I watched Annie before I auditioned, to refresh my memory of what happens in the show. The movie was good, but doing the show is more fun!
Bill: I haven't seen the movie recently - I generally make it a point not to, so we can come up with our own version, based on the script & score. I'm generally fine with musicals made into movies, but I find that the live theatre is much more engaging.
Ella: My favorite part of the show is to do is “It’s A Hard Knock Life”, because of all the props. My favorite part to listen to is the song "I Don't Need Anything But You", because of the harmony that Annie & Daddy Warbucks sing together.
Bill: I did many shows here at WBT in the late 90s, and then, after a 17-year hiatus, returned to do Wizard of Oz. I thought it would be a kick to do, particularly if my daughter was cast as a munchkin (which she was). It was such a thrill to bring Ella to work with me, and see her on stage! I did Godspell the following summer, and now I'm back again for Annie - and I hope to come back for next summers show, too!
Ella: Some of my favorite shows are: School of Rock, Peter Pan, Matilda, Legally Blonde.
Bill: Mine are West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, The Full Monty, On the Town
Bill: When not on stage, we love playing with Legos, reading (Harry Potter 5 currently), and slime making (slime making is the unanimous favorite of our cast of orphans, but it is not allowed backstage to protect the costumes).
Ella likes playing music - saxophone is her current favorite instrument.
Bill: On my iPod? I have A lot of classical music, especially Beethoven and Stravinsky, but also Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beatles, Parliament, and James Brown.
Ella: The Allegretto from Beethoven's 7th Symphony.
Ella as Kate.