With professionally made costumes and a set that moves with the actors, the cast of Sandwich High School’s production of Disney’s “Newsies” says that their show is going to be as close to a Broadway performance as a high school theater company can get.
“We’re not too far off from Broadway,” said senior Michael Polidor, who plays the gambling newsie Racetrack Higgins. “It may not be as powerful, but it’s going to be pretty fun to watch.”
One of the aspects of the show that sets it apart from anything the Knights Theater Company has done in the past is that much of the set comprises scaffolding platforms that are on wheels. Ethan Hallas, a sophomore, is working the lighting and tech for the show and said that because of how mobile the platforms are, there is virtually no stopping the show to conduct set changes, since the changes can be made nearly immediately.
As a result, the actors often end up setting the scenes themselves while the stage crew manages the action from behind the scenes.
“It’s a dance between the actors and tech to make sure everything gets on the set at the right time,” he said.
The actors spend a lot of time performing on the nearly 10-foot-high scaffoldings, including dancing and hanging from them —even while they are moving at times.
“They’re almost like their own character,” said 8th grader Alex Brennan, who plays newsie Davey.
“You get a sense of power when you’re up there,” said senior Matt Jenkins, who plays newsie leader and president of the Newsboys Union Jack Kelly.
Sophomore Jameson Hart, who plays handicapped newsie Crutchie, said the show has been more demanding than other shows he has done with the theater company in several ways.
“What I find interesting is how much more choreography we’ve done,” he said. “It’s more than we’ve ever done.”
He added that vocally, the pitch of the songs is a bit higher, too.
The production demands a male-dominant cast, which the school can handle, since so many members of the drama club are male.
“I think it’s very cool,” Michael said. “We’re very fortunate to have this many boys working together.”
He said that the show is also being done at Monomoy High School in Harwich, but he heard they had to double-cast their actors since there were not enough boys.
Despite being a show about boys, the female members of KTC get their due, as well. Many of them are cast in newsie roles; however senior Lily Anderson plays the sole female lead of Katherine, a newspaper reporter who covers the newsboy strike.
“She has aspirations and she has goals and she’s going to get them one way or another,” she said. “It’s inspiring to play a part like that.”
Freshman Caleb Levesque said that this is his first time doing a musical with KTC, saying this was a fun musical to start with. He plays the prankster newsie, Albert.
“I like this show a lot; it looks really cool,” he said. “My character is very spunky—I like that.”
Luke MacDonald, an 8th grader who plays Davie’s little brother, Les, said that he appreciates how nobody was left out of the cast for this show.
“This show is very inclusive,” he said. “Everybody gets to do it.”
Director Kevin Lasit said that there are a total of 72 students from the STEM Academy and Sandwich High among the cast and crew for the show.
“I’m beyond proud that our drama club is healthy in numbers, physically and financially, to embark with launching an ambitious production such as Disney’s ‘Newsies,’ ” he said.
“Newsies” opens on Friday, March 29, at 7 PM with additional performances at 7 PM on March 30, April 5, and April 6. A Sunday matinee will be held March 31 at 2 PM.
Tickets will be sold at the door: $10 for students and $15 for adults.