Uxbridge youth stopping the presses
by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
Set in an era when newspapers were practically the only way to get news and information, Newsies is a musical that offers a glimpse into what poor and oppressed youth had to endure to earn a living. And the Uxbridge Youth Theatre (UYT) is bringing this story to life on the Music Hall stage.
The show features music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin), with lyrics by Jack Feldman, and is based on the 1992 Disney film’s screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. The film became a Tony-winning Broadway musical that inspires everyone to fight for what’s right and seize the day.
Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, Newsies is the story of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When the titans of the publishing world (namely Joseph Pulitzer, owner of The World newspaper) raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions, meeting with trials and a little romance along the way.
Inspired by the true story of the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, Newsies features songs like “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe.” It’s a show that promotional coordinator Karen Higgins describes as “packed with non-stop thrills and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family and every audience!”
This UYT production features a cast of 34 youth, mainly from the Uxbridge area, ranging in age from 13 to 20 years, as well as a production crew of eight teens.
“We also boast a highly professional production team, consisting of Jennifer Carroll as show director, Lynsay Haines as choreographer and stage manager, Sheila-Marie Richardson as musical director, and Jill Hanley and Brittany Gyivicsan as co-producers,” says Higgins.
UYT is a non-profit theatre organization that was founded in 2002. Its primary focus has been to develop theatre skills and inspire self confidence in young people, as well as have them experience all aspects of a theatrical production – both on and off stage. The two previous UYT musical productions were High School Musical and Bye Bye Birdie. This may, however, be UYT’s last production, as the current board and production team are moving on to other endeavours. This doesn’t mean that UYT is completely shutting down – as one board member put it, “it just means that we haven’t found the right person to take it over, yet.”
UYT’s production of Newsies opens Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m., and has shows May 24, May 25, May 30, May 31 and June 1, all at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, May 26, and Saturday, June 1, there will be a 2 p.m. matinée.
For ticket availability, visit starticketing.com or visit uxbridgeyouththeatre.com for more information.