Nearly 100 high school students from St. Michael’s University School are preparing to put on the Disney musical Newsies at McPherson Playhouse.
The young actors, musicians and backstage crew members have been rehearsing for the annual musical since October with director and head of theatre arts Ian Collett.
The musical, inspired by a true story, is set in 1899 Manhattan, where Jack, the charismatic leader of the newsies, rallies a group of teenage newsboys from across the city that are fed up with inadequate pay and living conditions, Young explained. The newsies join forces to strike against the publishers and fight for their rights.
|Theo Young, left, and Evelyn Hawes play Jack Kelly and Katherine Plumber in the St. Michael’s University School production of Newsies which includes hundreds of prop newspapers and a printing press. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)|
Grade 11 student Theo Young is one of the actors playing Jack Kelly. He co-shares the role with Grade 12 student Mark Finamore and each will perform two shows.
Aside from being a newsboy, Jack is also an artist who dreams of starting over in Santa Fe – “the new frontier at the time,” Young explained. His favourite song, “Santa Fe,” opens the play and demonstrates Jack’s “hope and love for a place he’s never been.”
Young finds the role of Jack refreshing as he feels the character’s development is obvious.
Grade 12 students Evelyn Hawes and Paris Iverson share the role Katherine Plumber, Jack’s love interest.
Katherine, Hawes explained, is a reporter “trying to make her way in a man’s world.”
She’s a strong female character “doing something no one’s done before,” Hawes said, adding that while she’s been in several musicals, Katherine is the first character she’s felt truly at home playing.
The show runs from March 5 to 7 with three evening shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on March 7.
Hawes emphasizes the story is suitable for audiences of all ages, and points out that there’s dancing, singing, acrobatics and hundreds of prop newspapers.
“I couldn’t imagine someone being bored,” Young said. “It’s captivating.”
Tickets can be purchased for $29.75 on the McPherson Playhouse website – rmts.bc.ca – and may also be available at the box office.