YAP Seniors


Our 2019-2020 students have been influential in each other’s lives and a true asset to Broadway Theatre League of Utica. These young amazing adults  had the opportunity to be a Broadway Utica season subscriber, meet members of the cast and crew, attend informative pretalks and participate in several volunteer opportunities.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the ambassadors were not able to take the annual trip to New York City to see a live Broadway production.

Below, read what the 2019-20 Yappers had to say about the program.

Maria Brooks

New Hartford High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending St. John Fisher College
Major: Nursing

Where I see myself in 5 years…graduated from college and working in a hospital as a neonatal nurse.

“Being a Yapper was an amazing experience. Not only do you get to see all the amazing shows and the talent in them but also meet so many new friends who enjoy the same things you do. Every show we went to see was so good and I am so happy I was able to be a part of the program!

Malachi Ward

Clinton High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Connecticut College
Major: Fashion Marketing and Public Relations

Where I see myself in 5 years…living in LA or NYC working for a public relations agency and getting ready to open up my own agency!

“YAP has been such an amazing outlet for networking with other teenagers and adults that share the same passion for the arts. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to participate! I also want to send a special thank you to Kristen and Danielle for always being such amazing leaders and blessings in my life!”

Maggie Stephens

New Hartford High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Pursuing professional musical theatre performance

Where I see myself in 5 years…hopefully bringing audiences joy through performance and having a close family.

“I’m so thankful for everything that the youth ambassador program has given me! Every talkback, performance, and event in the community has shaped me into not only the performer that I aspire to be but the person I am most want to be. If you are on the fence about applying for this program, I cannot recommend it enough!! It truly was one of my favorite high school experiences and I will never forget the memories and friends I made these past two years.”

Kennen Eksic

Thomas R. Proctor High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont
Major: Political Science and Studies in War and Peace

Where I see myself in 5 years… serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, as an intelligence officer. Additionally, I see myself volunteering in the community to make educational opportunities available to those who may not have easy access to them; including academic and artistic outlets.

“This program was incredibly enriching to me, as a creator and actor, allowing me to see the minuscule technicalities involved in putting on the spectacular shows we saw at the Stanley and last year on Broadway. Additionally, it was a great outlet to network with like-minded individuals and to meet new friends.”

Mackenzie Windield

New Hartford High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Oneonta State
Major: Mathematics

Where I see myself in 5 years…teaching in a high school classroom!

“I am so grateful for the amazing memories I’ve made and people I will never forget through the Youth Ambassador Program.”


𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐊𝐥𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐡

 Thomas R. Proctor High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending: SUNY Cortland

Where I see myself in 5 years…I see myself fresh out of college and starting to wrap my head around what it actually takes to be starting the next chapter of my life.

“The Bernadette Eichler Youth Ambassadors Program was a huge part of the advancement in my love and appreciation for theatre as a whole. Both the onstage and offstage aspect of it. Having the opportunity to see touring casts of Broadway productions for free and then commenting on them through what I perceived on the show really opened my eyes to focus on all the hard work that goes into making the show possible. “

Maggie Parker

Thomas R. Proctor High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Mount Holyoke College
Major: Psychology and Political Science

Where I see myself in 5 years… starting grad school hopefully!

“Being a Youth Ambassador has brought so many wonderful opportunities to my life, and created such a wonderful group that promotes art, learning, and giving back to the community. I could not be prouder to have spent two years in this amazing program! ”

Joseph Carney

Herkimer High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Crane School of Music
Major: Music Education

Where I see myself in 5 years…I see myself applying for jobs and hopefully landing one as a music teacher.

“Broadway Utica and being in the YAP program has been one of the best experiences of my life. I met some of my best friends ever through the program. Getting to see shows with all of those friends was amazing and getting to work with Danielle and Kristen was just as amazing. They are truly wonderful. I would encourage anyone to join YAP because it will truly change your life.” 

Katherine Vito 

South Lewis High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Nazareth College, Rochester NY
Major: BFA Musical Theatre

Where I see myself in 5 years…I honestly have no idea what is in store for me. I would LOVE to perform on a cruise line to gain some experience, and I want to audition for touring casts, and one of my dreams is to perform in a show on the Broadway Utica stage!! After traveling for a while I will most likely move to NYC and audition there, and give private voice lessons as well. Who knows, maybe I will go try to be a Disney character in Disney World.

“The YAP Program and BTL has been such an incredible experience for me. It has taught me to put myself out there and meet new friends, and along with that, it has strengthened my love for theatre so much. I have been so inspired by the shows and the people in the program. I adore YAP and will miss it greatly. Thank you BTL!!”

Katelyn Litwak

Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School (VVS) Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending SUNY Oneonta
Major: Theatre and Psychology

Where I see myself in 5 years…I can see myself furthering my education to become a school counselor, or directing shows.

“Being apart of YAP helped me to branch out and meet people that I otherwise never would have made connections with; many of them have the same interests as I do. My favorite part was becoming mesmerized as I watching shows and talking about them afterward with other Yappers.”

Connor Griffin 

New Hartford High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending The Fashion Institute of Technology
Major: Fashion Business Management

Where I see myself in 5 years…in New York City working in the Fashion Industry.

“The YAP program is a great way to expose people to all aspects of theater!”



Hailey Bassett

Whitesboro High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Utica College
Major: Nursing

Where I see myself in 5 years…I would hope to see myself starting a successful nursing career as well as pursuing my education as a Nurse Practitioner.

“I enjoyed my time with the YAP Program and sad that it had to be cut short. I am looking forward to attending several more shows at the Stanley in the future.”


John Calabrese

Thomas R. Proctor High School, Class of 2020
Attending MVCC
Major: Liberal Arts: Theater

“When I found out about the Youth Ambassador Program, I gained so much interest. Since being a member this year, although it was cut short from the pandemic, I still had the amazing opportunity to see incredible shows, write reviews, meet other individuals who enjoyed the arts just as much and me, and learn from watching professional actors and directors work to create something that I only used to dream of making in my future.”


Grace Monaco

Notre Dame Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Utica College
Major: Communications & Media with a concentration in Theater

Where I see myself in 5 years…I see myself moving out of NY and starting my career. I would like to pursue a job in the acting and filmmaking field.

“Being a Yapper has been a great experience and I only wish it could have last longer! It’s a wonderful program that I suggest to any high school student that has a passion for musical theatre. I cant wait to see what future shows BTL brings into town!”

Gabriella Cruz 

New York Mills Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Roger Williams University in Rhode Island
Major: Construction Management

Where I see myself in 5 years…I see myself graduating from Roger Williams University with my master’s in construction management, and starting a career in commercial construction.

” This experience has been truly amazing, it was sad to see the season cut short, but I have learned so many things about theater and made so many new friendships. Every show was absolutely amazing and I was so glad I got the chance to see the ones I could. Thank you to Broadway Utica for offering this extraordinary opportunity to get high schoolers involved in the community and theater. Although I may not pursue a career in theater, I will always have theater as part of my life and that is due to Broadway Utica and the Bernadette Eichler Youth Ambassador Program.”

Andrew Sayles

Oneida High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Purdue University
Major: Physics

Where I see myself in 5 years…I will be graduating with a masters and possibly studying in Germany.

“Being a yapper has allowed me to have so many more experiences in the broadway world than I ever have before. I am so grateful to have had this experience and I hope that it continues as long as musical theatre lives on.”


Breanna Stiefvater

Adirondack High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending Siena College
Major: Physics

“BEYAP program has given me so many opportunities to see so many amazing shows and I’m beyond grateful for the connections it has given me. Many of my closest friends were also in this program with me and I’m so so proud to have been a member of this wonderful program.”


Alivia Bell

New Hartford High School Graduate, Class of 2020
Attending SUNY Oneonta
Major: Early Childhood Education

Where I see myself in 5 years…I hope to see myself in a classroom teaching kids and after class going to the dance studio to teach again!

“I would like to thank the YAP for all the amazing opportunities over the past two years and I have loved being a part of something so amazing.”

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