Newsies Unfolded

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Newsies Unfolded

Newsies cast and crew at their dress rehearsal on Tuesday, March 12th

Newsies cast and crew at their dress rehearsal on Tuesday, March 12th

Alexa Petersen

Newsies cast and crew at their dress rehearsal on Tuesday, March 12th

Alexa Petersen

Alexa Petersen

Newsies cast and crew at their dress rehearsal on Tuesday, March 12th

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Last night, March 14, was the opening night of the Point Pleasant Boro High School production Newsies at the Loren Donley Center for the Performing Arts. The performing arts students will also be putting on the musical tonight at 7:30pm, Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sunday at 2:00pm.

Newsies is based off of the 1899 newsboy strike the happened in New York City. The musical tells the story of the children who sold newspapers and began leading a protest against the increase in the prices of the newspapers.  The Disney musical was originally written as a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White which was then made into a book by Harvey Fierstein. The music in the show is by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman. PPBHS announced the spring musical around January, after the students performed in the fall play, The Musical Comedy of Murders of 1940.

…just being with my cast each and every day. I love being around such a supportive group of people.”

— Ryan Jasitis

In the musical there are 59 cast members in total played by both PPBHS students and some students from Memorial Middle School who play the roles of the younger Newsies. The lead of the musical is portrayed by junior performing arts student Ryan Jasitis. Ryan plays the role of Jack Kelly who acts as the leader of the children during the newspaper strike in 1899. When asked what he enjoys the most about the musical he answered, “Just being with my cast each and every day. I love being around such a supportive group of people.” The middle school lead actor who plays the character Les in Newsies is portrayed by 6th grader Andrew Michigan. After talking to him about what it is like to be in a high school production as a middle schooler he said that it is “so much fun” especially since everyone is not only supportive, but incredibly accepting and “very nice.” Andrew then stated that he cannot wait to go into high school with people already knowing his name and his acting skills.

“It’s very rewarding after so many years of hard work to finally close a chapter that enriched my high school experience”.”

— Emily Mickel

The majority of the cast are dancers which makes sense because the musical has approximately 19 songs and dance numbers in total. The choreographer of the high school production is Christine Baglivio who choreographs for the Spring Lake Theatre as well. The dance numbers include very intense and fun moves that really enhance the story of Newsies. Junior student actor,Vinny Gencarelli, who plays Davy Jacobs admitted that “the dancing is pretty challenging and hard but overall it’s very rewarding.”

Besides the cast there is a lot more to the musical production behind the scenes.The crew contains 25 members, excluding the pit. There are around 16 musicians and instruments ranging from strings, percussion, brass and much more orchestrated by Band director Mr. Visco. The set was designed entirely by Mr. Kearns and with the help of his stage craft classes, it was brought to life. Mr. Kearns expressed that he wanted to do a show that hasn’t been done before for a new and fresh experience to bring to PPBHS. Art teacher Mrs. Soyster also helped significantly with props for the play, making all of the signs, banners, and newspapers. In a brief interview Mrs. Soyster says, “There is always something different and interesting with all of the plays and musicals. I’ve done a lot of lettering and signs for this set though. I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together.” Costumes for the show are hand made by Debby Bilotta and Kathy Stewart from Front Row Theatrical we provide the costumes for all of the PPBHS plays and musicals. “We love working here. We have been doing this for 10 years. This is our happy place. What we like most is the kids” said Stewart during one of the dress rehearsals.

For many cast members, this will be their last high school production. Senior Emily Mickle who plays Miss Medda Larkin said, “It’s very rewarding after so many years of hard work to finally close a chapter that enriched my high school experience”.