“Newsies” has been on Becki Williams’ wish list for the Lakeview High School Theatre Department ever since she saw the musical performed by Mercer students last year.
“They have fallen in love with it,” she said of the 42 Lakeview students who are rehearsing for “Newsies.”
The Tony Award-winning Disney production has been performed on Broadway, and it’s based on the historic newsboy strike of 1899 in New York City.
“I just love the message behind it,” said Williams, high school musical producer and sixth grade language arts teacher.
It’s about hope and change, and it shows that kids can make a difference, she said during a recent afternoon rehearsal.
The show will be performed in the auditorium of Lakeview High School, 2482 Mercer St., Stoneboro, at 7 p.m. March 12 and 13, and 2 p.m. March 14.
Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for students and senior citizens; and free for kids under 5. They can be purchased at the door one hour prior to each performance.
“This is a huge undertaking,” Williams said, noting that the fast-paced production has a lot of singing and dancing.
Students did blind auditions, meaning they didn’t know which musical they were trying out for; they were excited when they learned it would be “Newsies.”
“It’s like a show of a lifetime. We have a lot of great talent,” said senior Douglas Maxwell, 18, who plays Davey.
His character is working hard to support his family, and he’s hesitant about being like the other boys.
Maxwell likes the energy of the show, which he said the cast can relate to since they’re teenagers like the newsboys.
Junior Devin McIntire, 17, plays Jack Kelly, one of the lead roles. Jack encourages his fellow newsboys to take a stand and go on strike against some powerful publishers.
Jack is an orphan who is selling papers so he can get out of New York City and move out west, Devin said.
Devin wasn’t very familiar with the story at first, but now he loves it. It’s taught him that you have to look to those around you for support.
He noted that the show is family-friendly, and it has a lot of emotion and some great songs like “Seize the Day”, “Carrying the Banner” and “The World Will Know.”
Junior Melana Vaughn, 17, plays Katherine Plumber, a local reporter trying to prove she’s a good writer.
Katherine finds that she shares some of the same goals as the newsboys, and she makes new friendships along the way.
The musical’s writing is encouraging, and Melana likes the song “King of New York,” adding that the theatre department is like a family.
“Lakeview has a crazy amount of talent,” she said.
Senior Rachel Byler, 17, who plays newsie Spot Conlon, was painting a backdrop scene for the musical.
“Everyone’s gonna love it. It’s more than just a musical,” she said.
High school English teacher Chylo Baun, the musical’s director, said the students are very talented, and she likes the upbeat music and messages of “Newsies.”
Williams thanked the students and their parents for helping with the set and costumes. She is also grateful for the Mercer County Career Center carpentry students who built some of the set.
Alaina Stroud, a Slippery Rock University student, is the vocal director. Beth Lewis is the pit director; Becky DeGraaf, choreographer; and Andrew Lattimer, a Lakeview High School senior, is the student director.
Other cast members are: Brandon Guthrie as Crutchie; Cameron McFeely as Race; Kendall Crocker as Finch; Alissa Slater as Elmer; Anna Redfoot as Mush; Austin Stalker as Albert; Dante Borden as Romeo; Sydney Shilling as Buttons; Carly Amon as Specs; John Kocher as Henry; Breanna Naylor as Jo Jo; Taylor Booher as Les; Chance and Michael Ward as the Delancey brothers; Madison Zimmer as Medda Larkin and Nun; Jacob Erlwein as Weisel, Mr. Jacobi, stage manager, and mayor; Jaina Bowmer as Hannah, nun, and Bowery beauty; Bradyen Fusco as Bunsen; Brayden Sample as Joseph Pulitzer; Josh Grim as Snyder and Nunzio; Micha Gadsby as Splasher and Bill; and Will Trubic as Seitz.
Alley Daye, Alyssa Johnson, Bellina Devine, Elise Silloway, Hannah Taylor, Jaili Bowmer, Josh Hoobler, Katie Stull, Kaylee Martin, Layla Salinas, Lily Blasco, Mikayla Moose, Mara Barrick, Paige Kobsik, Shai Hargrove and Sierra Williams are also part of the cast.
For more information, call the school at 724-376-7911, or visit “Lakeview High School Theatre” on Facebook.