After months of tireless preparation, ‘Disney’s Newsies Jr.’ from Theater Victoria. is a traffic-boosting whirlwind of energy and excitement, and it’s headlining this weekend.
“I’m super excited about the show because it shows adults that we can make a show as big as theirs,” said Rose Thorp, a seventh-grader at Nazareth Academy who plays Nancy, a ” newsie” newspaper peddler at the bend. of the century.
The dynamic acting, kinetic dancing and captivating choruses will likely dazzle audiences with an electric performance brought to the stage by a young cast and backstage crew. The musical opens Thursday night and continues with three more performances through Sunday at Victoria College’s Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, 214 N. Main St.
At about an hour and 15 minutes, “Newsie’s Jr.” is a condensed youth version of the two-hour adult performance, which is an adaptation of the 1992 feature film “Newsies” starring Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall and a young Christian Bale. Like the adult film and stage versions, “Newsies Jr.” follows a group of brave newsboys who organize and go on strike against their big bosses.
Emily Martinez, a 16-year-old junior at Victoria West High School, said she saw the “Newsies” musical version on Netflix before she was cast in “Newsies Jr.”
At the time, she found the production “boring,” she said with a laugh, but since getting her hands on the script as a cast member, she’s changed her mind, saying in part because of the energy of his fellow cast members.
“They are what makes me exciting,” she said.
But she also now sees the complexity of the musical’s characters, including her own, New York Sun reporter Katherine Plumber.
“She is stern but lovely. She knows what she wants and she will get it,” she said. “I enjoyed it.”
Getting into this persona was an ongoing, but fun process, she said.
“Characters don’t happen overnight. You have to do the character development for this role,” she said, adding that she also prepared for the singing of the role by practicing in the car.
Felicia Boyd, the company’s director, said the Victoria Theater chose this production in part because of its complex and thought-provoking themes, perfect for getting young people to think critically about the world around them. Like production news, she hopes the musical will take its cast, crew and audience away from their phones and think more about people in authority.
“Theatre raises difficult questions. It … takes you out of the comfort zone,” she said, adding, “They are the ones learning that they can have a voice. No matter what your age, you can find a voice and fight the norm.
Anna Paula Llompart, a 17-year-old student at St. Joseph’s Secondary School, said these themes fit well with her generation, which is more aware of contemporary social issues.
“Our generation recognizes this, especially by breaking the cycle of injustice,” Llompart said. “We recognize that stuff – that it’s happening, that it needs to be broken, that it needs to be fixed.”
In addition to these lofty themes, “Newsies Jr.” is also a ton of fun simply as a dramatic spectacle. The dance, loaded with stomps, slides and coordinated cast movements, will have the audience stomping and rocking in their seats. His catchy show tunes are veritable earworms that will stick in viewers’ heads long after the curtain goes down.
Getting the dance routines, songs and acting roles was rewarding, Llompart said. Despite the challenges, Llompart and the rest of the cast were ready for opening night after several weeks of rehearsal. Llompart estimated that they rehearsed about five times a week for six weeks.
“Putting on a show is obviously a challenge, but working on everything was just one thing at a time,” said Llompart, who plays Spot Conlon. This character, who is the feared leader of Brooklyn’s newsies, was a far cry from Llompart’s personality, she said. Within the company, the friendly teenager is referred to as “Mama Paula” for her supportive attitude.
Lucas Meyer, an 18-year-old home school graduate, said he found learning the songs for the musical’s main part also a rewarding challenge.
Meyer, who describes herself as a “normally shy person”, is used to performing after a string of roles with her home theater group. During a Tuesday night rehearsal, Meyer gave an impassioned, often ravishing performance that spoke not only of her experience on stage, but also of her passion for performance.
Meyer is the lead singer of “The Heatwayv,” a band he formed with a brother and a friend, but he has little singing experience on stage. But through the many rehearsals, he says he has since regained his voice and a newfound confidence.
“Until recently, I didn’t feel comfortable with my singing voice,” he said, adding, “But that’s the thing with acting, it always pushes me out of my zone. comfort.”