Extra! Extra! Newsies comes to Bruins on Broadway


  At the end of the student-led production of Bruins on Broadway in January, it was announced that this semester’s musical would be Disney’s Newsies. The dance heavy, hit broadway show that just recently released the rights to be performed by other organizations. The show focuses a young newsboy, Jack Kelley, played by senior Lane Cabler, as well Jack’s friends, most of whom are New York newsboys, or as they claim themselves, “Newsies.” The show follows the characters as they struggle through the Newsboys Strike of 1899.

  Music theory teacher and choir co-director, Alex Rivera, is the stage director for the musical. This means he directs the blocking and acting for the show.

  “This musical is technically based on the 1992 Disney film Newsies, but ultimately both are based on the New York Newsboys’ strike of 1899,” Rivera said. “That strike really happened and sparked a slew of movements to create better work environments and enact legislation to protect child laborers.”

  At the very beginning of the play, in the second scene of the first act, the audience is treated to  the first interaction between Jack Kelly and Katherine Plumber, played by Olivia Park, an up and coming journalist who works for the newspaper The Sun.

  “I never in my mind thought that I would get the role of Katherine,” junior Olivia Park said. “I thought I might not get into the musical because I wasn’t a male and can’t tap dance well, but the directors were very clear that there were gender blind roles so I auditioned for the musical and somehow I was assigned Katherine and I still am trying to comprehend how I got that role.”

  Gloria Castillo, part of the Newsies ensemble and the Dance Troupe for the musical, has never been in a high school musical production before.

  “This is my first musical and I am so excited to be a part of an amazing cast,” junior Castillo said. “I expect it to be one of the best shows that the high school has ever put on. My favorite part about being apart of Newsies is to be able to share the love of musical theatre with people that I look up to everyday.”

  Tamara Walker, Choir Co-Director, directs choreography for the musical.

  “Our expectations are very high for each student who gives their time to this production,” Walker said. “There are no small roles! It takes a large team of many kinds of talent to make a show successful.”

  Musicals aren’t always fun and play. A ton of hard work goes into making this show turn into reality.

  “I always feel like the musical takes over part of our lives for this time of year,” Walker said. “We fall in love with characters and the story that each of them bring to us. We work night and day with all the details. Almost all of our conversations are about props, who is doing what job, and how can we make this the best possible experience for our kids. Designing sets and finding the amazing parents that help build the set and costuming every character.”

  Although the musical can be a fun thing to put on, it can be very hard to keep up with the amount of work and sacrifices that are made for the sake of the show.

  “There are so many factors in any musical: publicity (for auditions and for the show), props, costumes, rehearsal schedules and logistics, communications, and learning all the songs, choreography, and blocking,” Rivera said. “Right now, to be honest, time away from my family has been tough. Three of my kids are little (under 5 years old) and it can be hard on them (and my amazing wife!) for me to be gone for the rehearsals.”

  Next year’s musical won’t be announced until Bruins On Broadway next school year but all students from the high school are welcome to audition.

  “Go for it!” Rivera said. “Join Choir if you feel uncomfortable singing by yourself. Seriously, Choir is there to teach you how to sing! Then when the show is announced, do a little research and find a song that showcases your voice.”

  Newsies will be at the highschool May third and fourth at seven p.m. and May fifth at 2 p.m. It’s a show jam packed with interesting dances, music, and history all compiled into a wonderful story line.

  “We wanted to choose a musical that would draw students and audience members in,” Walker said. “Something fun with a good message that could really showcase the talent we have here at BHS.”