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.

‘Newsies’ Cast

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


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