Disney's NEWSIES to Play Final Performances at APAC
Extra! Extra!! There are only six more chances to catch the high-energy professional production of "Disney's NEWSIES the Musical" at Axelrod Performing Arts Center. A bona-fide Broadway hit, "NEWSIES" was inspired by the real-life Newsboys' Strike of 1899. Performances continue Wednesday, June 13 through Sunday, June 17.
Featuring non-stop thrills, this delightful musical, directed and choreographed by Marcos Santana, addresses social injustice and exploitative labor practices and features a David-versus-Goliath struggle as the young newsies learn to channel their power.
Leading the cast is Jim Schubin, of Hamilton, NJ, in the role of the charismatic newsboy Jack Kelly, who rallies newsies across the New York City to fight for their rights. Playing his trusted sidekick, Crutchie, is Patrick Tombs -- the first disabled actor to play the role.
Schubin, a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association, is drawn to the musical because it is based on a true story, "These kids stood up in a time of moral and political corruption and demanded their seat at the table. Against seemingly impossible odds, they beat the system and won. I am constantly inspired by it."
Axelrod Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco led the casting search for the musical and affirms that Schubin was a major find! "We held 40 hours of auditions in New York City for this musical-it was the hardest show we've ever cast. After meeting over 300 young men, we knew instantly that Jim Schubin was the right fit for Jack Kelly. Night after night he delivers an astonishing performance. He is the most generous actor I've ever seen on stage."
Born and raised in Colorado, Schubin moved to New Jersey with his wife, Joan, shortly after graduating from Emerson College with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre.
"For my career, I wanted to be near New York City, but not in the city. I'm a country boy and like the character of Jack, I like my space. New Jersey offered the convenience of being close to the city, while still having the suburban life my wife and I prefer," he explains.
Schubin's credits include starring in the in the Off-Broadway phenomenon "The Fantasticks," New York's longest-running musical, as well as appearing in the national tour of "The Sound of Music" and on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."
He admits playing Jack Kelly is a dream role. It's an opportunity for him to sing gorgeous music, dance non-stop and dig into a very heartfelt script.
"Jack goes through an intense of amount of change over a short period of time. I think we can all relate to that," he says. "From making mistakes and hurting our friends to facing what we've done and apologizing. We all know what it's like to grow up, with all the aches and pains it carries. Jack embodies that to me."
With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein, "NEWSIES" is based on the 1992 Disney film of the same name. The show made its Broadway debut in 2012 and was an instant hit, winning two Tony Awards, recouping its initial investment of $5 million in seven months, and becoming the fastest Disney musical on Broadway to turn a profit.
"I hope the audience leaves the theater not only energized by the show, but also inspired by these kids," exclaims Schubin.
On the first day of rehearsal, director-choreographer Marcos Santana (Broadway credits: "On Your Feet!," "Rocky, the Musical," "Guys and Dolls") explained to the cast that this show isn't about a bunch of kids forming a union. It's about unity and brotherhood and the connection that they have - that together they can accomplish more than on their own.
"It's easy to get caught up in the hectic day-to-day rat race and all the craziness it entails, but if we could all watch each other's back a little more, I think the world would be a far better place," Schubin adds.
Tickets to "Newsies" at Axelrod Performing Arts Center range from $37 to $46 and are available online at www.axelrodartscenter.org or by calling (732) 531-9106, ext. 14. The Axelrod Performing Arts Center is located at 100 Grant Avenue in Ocean Township. The theater offers senior and student discounts, as well as ample, free on-site parking and is completely handicap accessible.
About Axelrod Performing Arts Center
Axelrod Performing Arts Center is New Jersey's newest professional theater, offering mainstage musicals with casts and production teams from New York City and beyond as well as original concerts throughout the year. Axelrod PAC fosters artistic excellence by showcasing varied and distinct cultural programs that enrich the imagination, intellectual, and creative soul, while cultivating an appreciation of diverse communities through the pursuit of the arts.