Last Edition: Original and Current NEWSIES Stars Recall Favorite Memories!
NEWSIES plays its final performance on Broadway tonight Sunday, August 24, but BroadwayWorld (and the rest of New York, we hope) isn't ready to let the musical leave just yet! Throughout the week, we've been spreading the Newsies love by bringing you favorite memories from a slew of the current and past stars of the show. Check out a roundup of the submissions below!
BEN FANKHAUSER (Davey - original and current cast)
Some highlights for me were the television performances we were lucky enough to be able to participate in. The Tony Awards performance was obviously a dream come true. HUGE highlight. Another one was performing on "Dancing With The Stars." In 24 hours time, we flew to LA, rehearsed and filmed "Dancing With The Stars," flew back and did Newsies that night. It was exhausting, but a very cool and fun opportunity. Of course, there are too many highlights to name. But, I will always cherish this show and this experience.
To the fans: you called this show to Broadway and have stuck with it to the very end and have also helped make this experience one I will never forget. Thank you! NEWSIES FOREVER!!
KARA LINDSAY (Katherine - original cast)
Newsies will forever hold a very special place in my heart. It's where so many dreams became a reality for so many of us. A Broadway debut is indescribable and to have made it with this particular group was very special. It warms my heart to think back to our first day in the Nederlander Theater and seeing the stage that would, unexpectedly, become our home for almost 3 years! OR thinking back to our very first rehearsal for the Paper Mill run and meeting everyone that would soon become family! There is a lot of love amongst this cast and crew. Saying goodbye absolutely broke my heart. Newsies was a very full chapter in my life, both career-wise and personally. The cast and crew helped Kevin and me plan our wedding and even threw us a shower in the Nederlander lobby! I mean, really!!
I truly do not know how to put into words how much Newsies has touched my heart. There aren't enough 'thank yous' in the world! Beyond grateful.
TOMMY BRACCO (Spot Conlon, Scab, Ensemble - original and current cast)
Newsies tells the story of the underdog fighting for what they believe in. That story is very personal to me because its reflective of the struggle that actors go through everyday. This is a really tough business filled with lots of ups and downs and clearly, this point of my career has been an "up"! Going forth into the next chapter of my life, I will take what I learned at Newsies Square and hold it very close. And that is: if you continue to fight hard, your dreams will come true. I made my Broadway debut in this show together with a group of people I now call my family. There is something so special and powerful about this show that took my love for being a performer to a whole new level. I feel lucky, blessed, and honored to have been chosen to tell this story. We made history. NEWSIES FOREVER.
ANDY RICHARDSON (Crutchie - current cast; Romeo, Ensemble - original cast)
One of my happiest memories from my Newsies experience is when I graduated from high school onstage in front of my family, my Newsies family, and a packed audience. Right after our final bow at a Wednesday matinee, Jacob Guzman, David Guzman, Hogan Fulton, and I walked the stage in bright red caps and gowns. The orchestra played Pomp and Circumstance while Thomas Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Group, introduced us. John Dossett and Tom Robbins as Pulitzer and Roosevelt even handed us our diplomas as the audience cheered! I swear I felt like my face was about to burst because I was smiling so much.
GARETT HAWE (Albert, Bill, Ensemble - original cast)
Being a part of Newsies was such a life-changing experience filled with so many memorable moments. If I had to pick just one as my favorite, I would have to say performing on the Tony Awards. It had only been a few months earlier that we were out in New Jersey at Paper Mill Playhouse, wondering if the show would even come to Broadway or not. The entire Tony day was pretty surreal, from the dress rehearsal at 8am, to performing our matinee, and then busing over to the Beacon Theatre for the live event. I'll never forget all of us newsboys huddled around the TV screen in the holding area watching them announce the award for "Best Choreography." As they announced Chris Gattelli's name, we all started screaming and jumping up and down. Chris won the TONY!!!!! The energy, excitement, pride, and love we felt in that moment is something I will always remember. Seconds later, we went onstage to perform Tony Award-winning choreography!
On our opening night on Broadway, our incredible director Jeff Calhoun told us that "these are the good ol' days," and to really cherish them. He couldn't have been more right. I will never forget ALL of the amazing moments I got to share with my newsie brothers. NEWSIES FOREVER!!!
THAYNE JASPERSON (Darcy, Jo Jo, Ensemble - original cast)
Gosh I have so many amazing memories of Newsies! It was a Broadway debut for half of us! I always loved seeing the small things that the audience wouldn't know about:
· Medda's face as she looked upstage preparing to sing.
· Scaring Kara Lindsay before we'd enter during the first scene or hiding so she'd think she'd have to go on without me.
· The lightning fast quick change I had from Darcy to Jo Jo with my two dressers.
· Trying to make the nuns laugh as I climbed the rail telling them sob stories of why I had nothing to eat.
· The spark and palpable energy felt amongst the group before "Seize the Day."
· Wondering who would be the one to pull their spoons out early during "King of New York" and laugh about it.
· Hanging like monkeys before "Brooklyn's Here" behind the scrim.
...so many things I can't name them all.
What a triumphant and glorious experience it was!! I can't begin to explain the feeling in my heart for this remarkable show and being a part of the original Broadway cast. Newsies forever!!
JESS LePROTTO (Buttons, Scab, Ensemble - original cast) Newsies was truly a life changing experience for me. Throughout the two and half years I was in the show, I met so many wonderful people from our cast, creative team and crew to the supportive and dedicated fansies of the show. To say what was my favorite Newsiesmoment would be impossible! The labor of love that I shared with these wonderful people is enough. No matter if we were at the Tony Awards, Disney World or holiday get-togethers, I always cherished every single moment that I had with all of these genuine and kind people.
One of my favorite moments would happen occasionally when the cast and crew would meet certain fansies onstage following the performance. They would just happen to be people I admired since I was little like Joel Grey, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro and Julie Andrews! Everyday at Newsies was a treat for me and I couldn't believe how much I learned about myself as a performer and as a person. I will always remember and cherish the "good ole days" at Newsies!
KYLE COFFMAN (Henry, Ensemble - original cast)
Newsies was always my favorite movie as a kid; when Aladdin came out in 1992, my best friend and I dressed up like Jack and Race to attend the showing at the movie theatre - I guess it was my first Disney "premiere." So every time I got dressed onstage during "Carrying the Banner", I was just getting paid to live out my childhood dreams. That's something I'll always be thankful for.
JEREMY GREENBAUM (Former Davey)
I remember sitting in the audience at one of the first previews of Newsies on Broadway and being awestruck by the amazing talent and captivating story. Only in my wildest dreams did I think I would soon get to join this magical world and help create that same sense of awe for new audiences each night.
In saying goodbye to the cast, I mentioned that what elevates this show in my opinion is that it is truly bursting with heart. This is both a product of the show itself and the company who made it happen. It was truly a dream come true to get to work on such an exceptional piece of theatre with such an exceptional group of people.
KEVIN CAROLAN (Roosevelt, Ensemble - original cast)
Losing half of my Teddy Roosevelt mustache on stage in the middle of a performance late in our Paper Mill Playhouse run! That was when I realized that whenever the chips were down during Newsies, I could always count on the pillar of control and grace contained in John E. Brady. The man was a puddle of strength. The rest of my fellow actors fared SLIGHTLY better.
DANIEL QUADRINO (Albert, Bill, Ensemble - current cast)
One of my favorite memories of Newsies is the day I found out I was going to be a part of this wonderful company! Having Jeff Calhoun say, "We just have one more question...how would you like to be a newsie?" is something I will NEVER forget. I responded, "ARE YOU KIDDING!?" with tears in my eyes.
TOMMY MARTINEZ (Romeo, Ensemble - current cast)
My favorite memory from Newsies is the day I was cast in the show. Mostly because it makes me sound incredibly dense. I didn't have an agent at the time so the call went directly to my phone. I answered and Eduardo (the Company Manager) said, "Hi Tommy, we'd like for you to join us at Newsies Square." And I didn't know if that was some sort of meet and greet, or a callback or something so I didn't say anything. So Eduardo says, "Is that something you're still interested in?" And I said hesitantly, "l'm not really sure what you're saying." So he said, "We want you to join the cast of Newsies." And I replied, "Oh! Yes, yes I would like to do that." Then he said, "Now we need to have you come in for a costume fitting in 20 minutes at the Nederlander."
JOSHUA COLLEY (Former Les)
I knew the moment that I got the role that my life was going to change. And boy did it! I remember getting through rehearsals and hitting the stage for my put in. All of the cast and crew were so nice to me and made me feel welcome. Well, there we were going over the fight scene in the show. We went over how the fight was to go down so that everyone would be safe. My part included jumping into a barrel, having it thrown on its side and then pushed across the stage while everyone else is fighting all around me. We were getting ready to run the scene, and I tell the newsie that was going to be pushing me across the stage to take it easy on me because it was my first time in the barrel. That's when he turns to me and says, "Really? This is my first time pushing the barrel." At first I thought he was joking, but I wasn't quite sure. We ran through the scene at full speed, and before I knew it I was rolling across the stage. Just when I thought the barrel would never stop rolling, it did, right before the orchestra pit. It was so exciting and frightening at the same time. I knew I was going to love playing this role! Newsies forever!
LUCA PADOVAN (Les - current cast)
One of my favorite memories was when I had my Broadway debut. I was freaking out and going over my lines constantly and my wrangler, Vanessa, told me, "No matter how many shows or movies you book, you'll only have one debut and you're ready, so make it count." I will never forget that. She is the best wrangler ever, and definitely someone I want to keep in touch with...well, I want to keep in touch with everyone! Especially Zach Unger (who also plays Les). He is the best guy I have ever met. He is super talented and we are extremely close. I love that I can walk in the theater and have a 3-hour play date with him everyday. He is my "brotha from anotha motha!" I love him a lot. Another one of my favorite memories was when he and I got to represent Newsies at the Easter Bonnet and we did our own version of "Who's on First" by Abbot and Costello written by Vanessa! I'll never forget that! Everyone was laughing and clapping! I love my whole Newsies family. It's gonna be really hard to say goodbye to all of them, but I know I'll see them again soon!
JULIAN DeGUZMAN (Swing, Assistant Dance Captain - current cast)
One of my favorite memories was performing the first show back after a four show hiatus for Hurricane Sandy. All of us felt so fortunate to be alive, to be back at work, and back to our performing lives. We dedicated that first show back to those affected by the storm. Seeing a smaller but enthused audience brave the still stormy weather for that show put it into perspective that life is short, and to be thankful for the audience's joy of theater and always, always offer our best to them.
ZACHARY UNGER (Les - current cast)
It has been so much fun playing Les in Newsies. One special memory I have is performing "King of New York" at the Actors Fund Gala celebrating 20 years of Disney on Broadway. We got into our costumes at the Nederlander and then ran over to the New Amsterdam to do the number on that stage. It was fun hanging out with the actors in the other Disney shows. And the desserts were amazing at the gala party!