BWW Previews: NEWSIES AT PATEL CONSERVATORY at Ferguson Hall At Straz Center
Before the high-flying, energetic production of Newsies put on by the Patel Conservatory takes the stage at Ferguson Hall, I had the chance to sit down with Director Suzanne Livesay and Student Performer Jaden Waz and discuss the show and what makes it memorable to all who see the show.
Suzanne what is your vision for the show?
There really is no deviation, and people will see the Newsies they've come to know and love. One thing we tried to do with this production, however, is to make Katherine more likeable. The gaol here was to show her as a strong female presence, but not unpleasant. Giving way to her spunkiness earlier on. Another interesting thing about our production is we have teenage girls playing Newsies as well. We are at about a 50/50 split on guys and girls.
Do you have a favorite song, scene, or line from the show and why is it your favorite?
My Favorite Song in the show would have to be "Seize the Day," my favorite scene is probably when Davey comes into his own our actor Quentin Hall does a wonderful job portraying the depth of Davey's character. I would have to say my favorite line in the show is, "Being boss doesn't mean you have all the answers, just the brains to recognize the right one when you hear it." I think this line resonates with me most, being the Director of the Patel.
If you could describe the performance in 3 words, what would you use?
Bold, Energetic, Appropriate...
Appropriate in the sense that kids are playing appropriate age ranges. A few years back we did Les Miserables and wondered if it would transfer right having younger kids play the roles. With Newsies it seems a perfect fit, and in seeing these exceptionally talented kids, playing kids of and around the same age, the show is presented in a stronger fashion.
For people whom never saw the movie, does the musical follow the same plot line, or will there be surprises?
The musical itself does change the plot slightly from the movie by way of a love interest for Jack. Bill Pullman's character in the film is actually written as a female character in the musical. So lines are shifted around and character arcs are different in that sense. We have one surprise, not to give anything away, but for those who come to the show expect something different with the entrance of the Brooklyn Gang; it's definitely different than what was done on Broadway.
Who should come see the show?
Everyone, Parents, kids alike. I will add there are a few Class I curse words, if you can call them curse words, that the musical adds in. If the kids are old enough to see the film, they are old enough and will enjoy this show!
What do you want people to be talking about on the drive home?
I want people to be talking about how exciting the show was, and how happy they were to see kids playing kids.
How is your Newsies different than other productions, what makes it stand out/become memorable?
Of course we talked about the surprise in the Brooklyn Gang scene, but I would have to say the high-quality work. At the Patel Conservatory we strive for a Professional Environment from start to finish, and truly pushing the kids, farther than they probably have been to achieve their highest potential and quality work.
Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Some very exciting things we are doing! This Saturday June 22, 2019 we are presenting two flash mobs. The easiest of the two to catch will be at International Plaza at Center Court at 1pm. Shoppers and anyone wanting a preview of what's to come can join us on Saturday! We are also trying something new, we are doing a $15 ticketed Wandelprobe in which the Actors/Actresses will move through the sequence of the show with the Orchestra for the first time. This will allow some members of the community who can't necessarily make it out to a performance during the run to get a preview of the show! This will be taking place in the TECO stage at the Straz Center on June 29th.
Thank you Suzanne for all the information! Now to turn the tables, I was able to speak with Student Actor Jaden Waz about what its been like to work on such an energetic show like Newsies.
Jaden what role do you play in Newsies?
I play Joseph Pulitzer.
Is this your first time performing on such a large stage like Ferguson Hall?
Well I usually sing a song in the Dance Recitals my Mom actually puts on, but in a Musical Theatre setting this is my first time in that sense.
What do you want audiences to connect with most within your Character?
I want the audiences to see my character as the big, bad villain he is portrayed as in the show. It's interesting to me, and will be interesting to audiences as well, because when you research Joseph Pulitzer the person his persona in the show is much different than whom he was in real life.
Do you have a favorite song or scene in the show and why is it your favorite?
I think my favorite scene is when my character Mr. Pulitzer first meets Jack. It really shows the dynamic between their relationships.
If you could pick any Newsie to be any day of the week, who would it be an why?
I would have to pick Davey, he's such an important role in the sense that he helps Jack on his Journey, and you get to really show the heart in the character and his dynamics.
Explain for me, your experience doing this production and how does it differ from others you may have done in the past.
Well, I don't normally do theatre outside of school, and when you're in a school setting its much harder to focus on the show outside of rehearsals. I think for me the awesome things about this production would have to be the Character development I was able to do outside of the rehearsals. The other really cool thing was that the staff of the show is so awesome to work with. They allowed us as performers to bring our own version of the characters to life on the stage, and didn't spend too much time dictating what they wanted to see. It allowed us room to explore and in a sense become better performers.
One final question, is there anything else you'd like the readers to know prior to seeing the show?
Just that they should be ready for a great show filled with great actors!
Thank you Jaden and Suzanne for those awesome responses, and I look forward to seeing the production.
Based on the 1992 Disney film, Disney's Newsies! comes to life on the Ferguson stage this summer. Performed by students age 13 through college, the story, set in turn-of-the century New York City, is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged "newsies." When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys' expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what's right! Filled with memorable songs and high-energy dance numbers, seize the day and experience a Patel Conservatory Theater production like no other.
Newsies brings their high-flying energetic performance to Ferguson Hall July 6-7, 2019. With performances on July 6, at 2pm and 8pm, and a performance on July 7, at 2pm, and tickets which are $25 can be purchased at the Straz Center Box Office or by visiting: https://www.strazcenter.org/Events/Straz/Shows/Patel-Conservatory/Summer2019/Newsies
So "Seize the Day," and buy your tickets to this amazing production!
Photo Credit: The Straz Center