FIRST STAGE THEATRE COMPANY Presents NEWSIES at HUNTINGTON HIGH SCHOOL, Opening On March 8th!
This past Saturday, during a lull in the Macy's Prom Fashion Event at the Huntington Mall, an impromptu musical performance began with a shout known to all musical lovers:
"Pulitzer and Hearst, they think we're nothing' Are we nothing'?"
In response, a mob of newsies - compromised of over 50 young actors, both male and female - replied tenaciously, "No!"
After which the unassuming audience was treated to an impressive flash mob rendition of "The World Will Know," which served to highlight the young performers' talents and impressive footwork.
Newsies has a story which resonates with all audiences - the fight for fair treatment and wages - and has continued to be a fan favorite production since it's inception as a movie musical starring Christian Bale in 1992 before hitting Broadway in 2012. In 2017 a filmed version of the Broadway show was shown in theaters and later made available digitally.
The story follows a group of young boys and girls struggling to make a living by selling newspapers on the streets of New York. The titans of publishing, Pulitzer and Hearst, decide to raise the cost per paper on the newsies to offset their production costs; thereby forcing the newsies to make up the financial burden. In retaliation Newsies from all parts of the city unionize and decide to fight back, intent on gaining fair treatment and respect.
Inspired by a true story, Newsies is spectacular and features an astounding score by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein based on the screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. Audiences will be delighted to hear songs from both the movie and Broadway show, including favorites "Carrying the Banner," "Seize the Day" and "Santa Fe."
For this production Sarah Navy, the choreographer, has tapped into what makes Newsies great, showing off the anger and aggression of the newsboys (and girls) as they fight for fair treatment against those in power.
Director Chuck Minsker, who has captivatingly led these young actor and actresses to understand what it is they fight for and to show their characters' desperation and hope in every movement and word, took a moment to speak with me about the show.
"I have to admit, I only knew it (Newsies) by reputation. Everyone who had seen it raved that it was a terrific show!" explained Minsker when asked what first made him first drawn to this production. "I also had a personal connection, having delivered newspapers in Middle School for two years. But I knew it was going to be a great challenge for our young performers, so I was anxious to tackle it."
"I was lucky enough to work with an amazingly talented team, including Music Director Mark Smith - one of the best in the business - choreographer Sarah Hayes Navy - a former First Stage kid herself and an amazing dancer - and Cindy Westbrook, who's assisted Sarah in the Herculean task of teaching all the dances loaded into this show, including an awesome tap number! I'm so proud of the work they've all done with our talented cast!"
Despite not being familiar with the material before taking on directing duties, Minsker quickly became acclimated. "I certainly became a fan the minute I saw it - the Broadway show is stunning, and I tracked down a copy of the original Disney film - also great fun - and I was convinced that this was going to be a great fit for our actors"
"The show is loaded with great messages for kids - after all, the story follows a bunch of the poorest, most down-on-their luck kids in 1899 who stood up to some of the most powerful companies in New York - and won!" explained Minsker, when speaking about the show's message and what he hopes to convey to the audience through his production. "It was a victory that had long-reaching effects for child labor laws and the treatment of orphans and the destitute. It's a great history lesson and a real moral victory for children!"
"I think audiences are going to be amazed at the level of talent on display in this show," said Minsker. "Their singing is powerful, their dancing is stellar, and they've worked like fiends to make this show unforgettable!"
The production, which will take place at Huntington High School this upcoming weekend, also features Daniel Ferguson as Assistant Director and Loretta Hayes as Producer. Jack Welch and Jeff Maynard served as Set Construction Directors and have dutifully brought the New York of 1899 to life.
With a cast of more than 50 young adults pulled from throughout the Tri-State area as well as a few veteran performers, the show is guaranteed to impress.
Disney's Newsies will be presented by the First Stage Theatre Company at the Huntington High School auditorium on:
March 8th, 2019 at 7:30 PM
March 9th, 2019 at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM
and March 10th, 2019 at 2:30 PM.
A special daytime performance will be held for area schools on March 7th, 2019. For more information on the school performance or to find out how your school can attend, call (304) 416-5437.
Huntington High is located at 1 Highlander Way, Huntington, WV 25701.
Tickets are $10.00 for children under the age of 12 and $12.00 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at door or can be reserved by calling (304) 416-5437.
Disney's Newsies is sponsored by the Herald-Dispatch and H-D Media and is the final show of First Stage Theatre Company's 29th season. First Stage Theatre Company is Huntington's longest-running children's theatre and is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing an educational, developmental experience for young people through the performing arts.