BWW Previews: NEWSIES at Dos Pueblos Theatre Company
High school theater programs are faced with an interesting set of challenges that professional or community theatre companies don't necessarily experience. The age and commensurate maturity of the student actors limits the type of works that can be meaningfully and effectively produced, and there's the practical consideration of aligning the choice of production with the available student population, whether that be an overabundance or dearth of performers. Beyond that, program directors are also educators, thus beholden to the cultural regulations of the school's environment. Finding a quality play that meets these requirements can be challenging, and often the options are "experienced" classics that have little situational relateability to a cast born in the new millennia.
But sometimes the stars align and opportunities present themselves for student theatre programs to craft productions with considered vision. Dos Pueblos High School, part of Disney's pilot program--which allows them to produce Disney's Broadway shows on a regional level--will be one of the first schools in the country to produce Newsies, the Tony-award winning musical about the newsboys' strike of 1899. Though this is a story about events that took place over a century ago, a conversation with the cast indicated deep connection with the material. Newsies pits an ensemble of young newspaper hawkers against fat-cat publishing kings, Pulitzer and Hearst, as they fight for fare wages. Recent protest movements guided by teens galvanized against gun violence have inspired students across the country, making this production of Newsies informed by the actors' immediate experiences of questioning status quo.
Clark Sayre directs a cast of 70 student actors in this musical extravaganza. It stars Nolan Montgomery, winner of Santa Barbara's Teen Star, as Jack Kelly, a newsboy with dreams beyond his social status who leads the newsies in their strike. Sayre has modernized the show by placing it in a color-blind, gender-blind world, and the cast represents the diversity of the student population. Newsies brings a lively musical to the stage that puts the energy of the young generation on display.
Dos Pueblos Theatre Company presents:
Disney's NEWSIES the Musical
Directed by Clark Sayre