Coming soon to Decker Auditorium
Iowa Central Performing Arts Department presents ‘Newsies’
Our Iowa Central team has been chomping at the bit for years to bring a Disney musical to the stage — and this year, we were thrilled to find the perfect match for our students and the iconic production mogul in the form of ”Newsies.”
We love so many elements of this show. First of all, the fact that it won the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Musical Score — by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman with book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein — and Best Choreography speaks volumes.
Even in auditions, we were getting chills as we heard the voices of our students bringing the lyrics of this amazing score to life. The opportunities for significant dancing roles will also challenge and push our students. And finally, on the acting side, this is a theater director’s dream. The plot is inspired by a true story which makes connecting to the material even more rewarding and stirring — both from an acting and a directing perspective.
Set in New York City at the turn of the century, ”Newsies” tells the story of a charismatic young man who leads his fellow newsies in the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899 against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst to fight for the rights of the young boys and girls who hawked the papers on the streets for the wealthy owners. Conditions for child laborers were abhorrent during this time, the children often living on the streets and in abysmal conditions. Historically, many newsgirls also worked alongside the boys and participated in the strike as well, a fact originally ignored by the stage production, but which Disney now makes allowances for in the new adaptation which includes casting choices with several gender-neutral options. The strike began when the children refused a price hike placed on them to counterbalance the paper’s circulation issues — losses that came from boring headlines after the Spanish-American War ended.
Some may have encountered this story back in 1992 when Disney made a motion picture which featured Christian Bale and Robert Duvall in leading roles. As expected, the Broadway version differs in several ways and adds some beautiful songs to its score, but the essence of the story remains the same. And, in true Disney style — I don’t think this spoil alert will harm our ticket sales — well, let’s just say it’s a happy ending and leave it at that. It is also an inspirational show, a true David and Goliath kind of battle which is not only appropriate for all ages, but is inspirational and educational. Add to that mix amazing singing, dancing and acting.
Iowa Central’s professional team continues to bring a wealth of experience and depth to guide our students. I continue at the helm of the show’s direction — in fact, this marks my 24th musical at Iowa Central. I’m a huge fan of my fellow directors here — Will Lopes on vocals and Paul Bloomquist on the band side. And, as always, I treasure working with our hometown choreographer, Emily Eastwood. Our technical team is now headed up by Ashley Garst who joined the Iowa Central family officially this year as technical theater coordinator and she will work closely with me and Scott Deuel on set design and construction and lighting/props/costume design as well. Rounding out the tech side is Andy Anderson on sound design.
”Newsies” begins with a 9 a.m. Wednesday matinee that will now be open not only to student audiences, but to anyone who would prefer coming during the day.
Then, we follow with 7 p.m. performances Thursday through Saturday in Decker Auditorium. Tickets are on sale in the Iowa Central Bookstore. Patrons can either order online, stop by campus or call 515-574-1081. Cost for adults remains $15 and students $5 with Iowa Central students attending for free.
Jack Kelly: Gavin Waidelich
Crutchie: Jamie Lennon
Davey: Jamison Gibson
Les: Natalia Lopes
Race: Jaden Morton
Albert: Albert Jones
Finch: Mayson Williams
Romeo: Dartangan Dohrn
Specs: Kordell Gafkjen
Henry: Brian Pearson
Mush: Bryce Barlow
JoJo: Madison Nicks
Mike: Luke Reiling
Ike: Isaac Thornton
Splasher: Kah’lil Jumper
Tommy Boy: Carson Underwood
Scabs: Zohara Assadipour (#1), Annie Niemeyer (#2), Drake Dodson (#3), Johnathan Hughes
Brooklyn Newsies: Triton Cheer Squad
Spot Conlon: Keshawn Shaw
Katherine Plumber: Brooklin Border
Darcy: Kylie Portz
Joseph Pulitzer: Dan Johnson
Seitz: Allison Kerwin
Bunsen: Cameron Swanson
Hannah: Eriana Howard
Nunzio: Drake Dodson
Wiesel: Jonas Kelp
Oscar Delancey: Blake Stiteler
Morris Delancey: Roswell Brown
Medda Larkin: Kim Garcia
Stage Manager: Kylie Portz
Bowery Beauties / Nuns / Scabs-Newsies:
Annie Niemeyer, Zohara Assadipour, Briana Jewett Katie Parsons
Mrs. Jacobi: LaDonya Chaney
Snyder: Jordan Martin
Mayor: Drake Dodson
Governor Teddy Roosevelt: Chayton Epping
Policemen/Townspeople/Medda’s audience (Ensemble):
Jonathan Long, Makayla Anderson, Javier Sanchez, Keisha Stelken, Jordan Martin, Demarcus Irons, Mackenzie Starkweather-sable