NEWSIES ON STAGE

Moose Jaw Express.com - - Front Page - Matthew Gourlie

Cor­ner­stone Chris­tian School’s pro­duc­tion of Dis­ney’s Newsies: The Broad­way Mu­si­cal is the largest in the school’s his­tory and more than a year in the mak­ing.

“The plan­ning prob­a­bly be­gan about 18 months ago,” said Tanya John­son who is di­rect­ing Newsies and is the vice-prin­ci­pal at Cor­ner­stone Chris­tian School. “Ev­ery­thing snow­balled from there. We did au­di­tions with our kids at the end of May and the be­gin­ning of June and we cast the show be­fore school was out for the year. Once school started again, we started rehearsing the sec­ond week of Septem­ber.” Newsies will run from Novem­ber 7-10 at the Mae Wilson The­atre with per­for­mances start­ing at 7 p.m. Tick­ets sales have been brisk and John­son cau­tioned that any­one hop­ing to at­tend should pur­chase ad­vance tick­ets from the Cul­tural Cen­tre box of­fice or on­line at www.moose­jaw­cul­ture.ca.

“We re­ally want peo­ple to go get their tick­ets early. Our Fri­day and Satur­day night per­for­mances are sell­ing re­ally strongly. We don’t want peo­ple to put it off and be dis­ap­pointed,” John­son said.

Newsies has proven to be a big suc­cess on Broad­way. The orig­i­nal run fea­tured more than 1,000 shows on Broad­way and a North Amer­i­can tour of the show fea­tured 784 more per­for­mances and a filmed ver­sion of the pro­duc­tion that was re­leased to movie the­atres.

“I think peo­ple just re­ally need to come see the show,” John­son said. “It’s an in­cred­i­ble story. We had guest chore­og­ra­phers come in to help us with some of the huge dance num­bers. It’s a big dance show. There’s sus­pense and fight scenes and lots of ac­tion. There’s re­ally some­thing for ev­ery­one in this show.”

Mount­ing a pro­duc­tion of Newsies was a unique propo­si­tion. Mu­sic The­atre In­ter­na­tional, a New York-based the- atre li­cens­ing agency, hadn’t re­leased the rights for the show in Canada. When they hinted it might be avail­able for schools to pro­duce out­side of the U.S. and started a countdown clock, Cor­ner­stone started to look into it. “There was a long wait for the pro­duc­tion rights to be avail­able for this par­tic­u­lar show,” John­son said. “It is such a great show and it’s al­ways ex­cit­ing to do new ma­te­rial. They had built it up spec­tac­u­larly. We kind of caught the bug and joined the band­wagon for that.”

Since the rights were made avail­able, the play had been put on by a re­gional the­atre com­pany in Al­berta and an­other that just closed in Bran­don, Man. “From what we can tell, we’re the first school to mount the show in Canada,” John­son said. “We’re pretty thrilled about that.”

Dis­ney pro­duced the mu­si­cal film Newsies in 1992 based on the true story of the news­boys strike of 1899. A new Broad­way pro­duc­tion of the play was mounted in 2011 and earned eight Tony Award nom­i­na­tions. Alan Menken and Jack Feld­man won the Tony Award for their orig­i­nal score. “They’ve added some dif­fer­ent twists and turns in the plot. There’s a few more things that hap­pen and if peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with the movie they will be sur­prised when they come to see the Broad­way ver­sion,” John­son said. “The mu­sic is fan­tas­tic. It’s the same writ­ers who did the mu­sic for Beauty and the Beast and The Lit­tle Mer­maid. The score is beau­ti­ful in the show.” The cast and crew are com­prised of 104 Cor­ner­stone stu­dents and this is the big­gest pro­duc­tion that the K-12 school has ever done.

“We have stu­dents from Grade 2 all the way to Grade 12 in the show,” John­son said. “We even have one of our alumni com­ing back to play a key role in the show, Liam McPaul. We’re thrilled to have him back. He played the beast when Cor­ner­stone pro­duced Beauty and the Beast a num­ber of years ago.” McPaul is 23 and John­son felt hav­ing an adult cast mem­ber made sense given the ma­te­rial.

“We don’t nor­mally do that, but we had one role where we felt it would be im­por­tant to bring an adult in to show the im­por­tance of the story,” John­son said. “It’s a real David-ver­sus-Go­liath-type story be­cause th­ese kids are tak­ing on big busi­ness to get bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions and things like that.”

“It’s a big dance show. There’s sus­pense and fiGHT SCENES AND LOTS OF AC­TION. THERE’S RE­ALLY SOME­THING FOR EV­ERY­ONE in this show.” -Tanya John­son, Direc­tor

Cor­ner­stone Chris­tian School’s pro­duc­tion of Dis­ney’s Newsies will be the largest in the school’s his­tory. Newsies runs from Novem­ber 7-10 at the Mae Wilson The­atre.

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