it:‘Newsies’ Readal­labout ga Chat­tanoo openingat TheatreCen­tre. STARTSFRIDAY

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The atre its a pro­duc­tion of the exu- 2018-19 sea­son with Chat­tanooga The- Cen­tre is open­ing be­rant ies” on Dis­ney Fri­day, Sept. 21. mu­si­cal “News

The Tony Award- win­ning mu­si­cal dance num­bers and rous­ing fea­tures rol­lick­ing mu­si­cal score com­bined with an in­spi­ra­tional story.

In­spired by the real news­boys strike of 1899 in New York City, “Newsies” re­volves around charis­matic Jack Kelly, who sells news­pa­pers on the streets — a “newsie” — liv­ing among a group of other young newsies, most of them home­less or or­phaned.

Among Jack’s cir­cle of friends are Crutchie, and brothers Davey Les, who have joined the newsies af­ter their fa­ther be­comes un­able to work.

When pow­er­ful pub­lisher Joseph Pulitzer de­cides to raise the cost of news­pa­pers to the boys by a dime , Jack finds a cause to fight for. He leads the young army of newsies to protest and even­tu­ally strike.

Caught in the mid­dle of this is spir­ited Kather­ine Plumber, a re­porter try­ing to build a ca­reer be­yond the so­cial pages. While cov­er­ing the strike — de­spite Pulitzer’s call for a me­dia blackout of it — she takes a fancy to Jack.

Nor­mand Caissie, 21, is mak­ing his CTC de­but as Jack.

The Mas­sachusetts na­tive moved to Chat­tanooga eight years ago. His oc­cu­pa­tion is

mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for DK Real Es­tate & Prop­erty Man­age­ment in Ringgold, Ge­or­gia; his av­o­ca­tion is act­ing. CTC au­di­ences will prob­a­bly rec­og­nize Caissie from per­for­mances with En­sem­ble Theatre of Chat­tanooga, Sto­ry­teller Pro­duc­tions, Kalei­do­scope En­ter­tain­ment and Closed Door En­ter­tain­ment.

In fact, Caissie says it’s roles with other area the­atri­cal com­pa­nies and their over­lap­ping sched­ules that pre­vented him from au­di­tion­ing at the CTC un­til now.

“When the CTC an­nounced t he 2018- 2019 sea­son, and ‘ Newsies’ was the opener, I im­me­di­ately cleared my sched­ule so I could au­di­tion. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a newsie?” he asks.

Based on the Dis­ney film writ­ten by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White, “Newsies” fea­tures a book by Har­vey Fier­stein, lyrics by Jack Feld­man and mu­sic by Alan Menken.

For this lo­cal pro­duc­tion, g uest di r ec­tor Kather­ine Michelle Tan­ner of Sara­sota, Florida, guides a cast of more than 40. An­drew Parker, artis­tic di­rec­tor of Chat­tanooga Bal­let, is chore­og­ra­pher and Michael Huse­man is mu­sic di­rec­tor.

While most mu­si­cals are re­mem­bered for their mu­sic, or a score’s un­for­get­table show- stop­ping pro­duc­tion num­ber, the mu­si­cal’s sig­na­ture is the ath­letic chore­og­ra­phy re­quired of its dancers.

Even though the story is in­spi­ra­tional in an ide­al­is­tic David- and- Go­liath way, the un­bri­dled ex­u­ber­ance of the mu­sic and dance is what brings down the house. The mu­sic em­bod­ies the courage and ide­al­ism of the de­ter­mined newsies, and the high-spir­ited dance is en­er­getic, ath­letic and ac­ro­batic.

High- en­ergy per­for­mances are re­quired nightly from the leads be­tween the score’s musi c and the danc­ing de­mands.

“The tough­est part is keep­ing the en­ergy level up,” says Caissie. “This show is def­i­nitely the most en­er­getic I’ve ever worked on. Luck­ily, we have an in­cred­i­ble chore­og­ra­pher who has made the re­hearsal process fun and ex­cit­ing. Each de­tail of his chore­og­ra­phy tells a spe­cific story. It’s truly great chore­og­ra­phy!”

Caissie de­scribes Jack’s char­ac­ter as iconic, but it’s a vo­cally de­mand­ing role.

“Not only does he have to sus­tain sev­eral high A’s through­out the en­tire show, but he also does a lot of yelling, which needs to be done cor­rectly so I can re­main vo­cally healthy through­out the show. As leader of the newsies, Jack has to en­er­gize every­one. If Jack’s pas­sion and en­ergy aren’t there, the show isn’t as ex­cit­ing. So find­ing that bal­ance be­tween high en­ergy and health/safety can be tricky at times,” he says.

Pur­chase tick­ets at the CTC box of­fice, 400 River St., call 423-267-8534 or pur­chase on­line at TheatreCen­


Noah Huse­man, Han­nah Rollins, Re­becca Hilde­brandt and Ni­cholas Lyles, from left.

In his CTC de­but, Nor­mand Caissie stars as the charis­matic Jack Kelly, an ide­al­is­tic news­boy who ral­lies his fel­low “newsies” to fight a ruth­less news­pa­per mogul.

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