Hot Off the Press: ‘Disney’s Newsies’ to be UF’s Spring Musical
Show times at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts will be on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $12 at the Center’s box office at 200 W. Main Cross St. They can also be purchased online at www.mcpa.org or by calling 419-423-2787.
Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, the musical portrays the tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right.
The lead role of Jack will be played by senior Brent Hoggatt from Wilmington, Ohio. Ashley Oakley, a senior from Copley, Ohio, will play Katherine, a reporter covering the strike whose personal interest in the cause puts her in a perilous position.
Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story of the 1899 Newsboys Strike, “Disney’s Newsies” features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (also known for “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Sister Act”), and Jack Feldman, and a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (“Kinky Boots”). Including the now-classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” the play is packed with nonstop thrills and a timeless message of hope and integrity that are perfect for the whole family. The UF Theatre production will be accompanied by an 11-member professional live orchestra. Led by Music Director Micheal F. Anders, Ph.D.
Director Meriah Sage said the charisma that emanates from the cast and crew is contagious. “The passion and energy that our cast and crew have for this show radiates off the stage,” she said. “The energetic dancing is choreographed by Brenda Hoyt-Brackman, the music led by Dr. Anders is fun for the whole family, and the set, designed by guest designer Kristen Ellert, is dynamic and uses the beautiful Marathon Center stage to its fullest,” she added.
Sage said “Disney’s Newsies” has only been available for outside groups to perform for less than a year. The University of Findlay “is among the first in the area to do this show,” she maintained.
“Disney’s Newsies” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.
The large, 38-member cast is comprised entirely of students, the vast majority of them attending UF. They include:
Jack Kelley – Brent Hoggatt
Katherine – Ashley Oakley
Davey – Jack Yeater
Les – Nolan Tiech
Crutchie – Ryan (Blake) Biush
Medda Larkin – Riley Klauza
Bowery Beauties – Mykayla Ruffing, Lisa Martinez, Emily Hoffman and Staci Brenneman
Nuns – Rebekah White, Caris Conrad and Bradyn Craft
Wiesel/Mayor – Paul Beaver
Morris Delancey – Robbie Riffle
Oscar Delancey – Daniel White
Snyder – Amber King
Joseph Pulitzer – Parker Leland Nash
Seitz – Thomas Margevicius
Bunsen – Lily Kamphaus
Hannah – Celia Brand
Roosevelt/Mr. Jacobi – Andrew Flinn
Nunzio/Ensemble – Ethan Hockaday
Race – Andrew Peatee
Albert – Eli Garmon
Specs – Jonda Krontz
Henry – Cody Watson
Finch – Jacob Sarver
Romeo – Austin Stevens
Elmer – Jared Dixon
Mush – Eliza Brisbin
Buttons – Abbi Starcher
Splasher – India Miller
Ike – Skyler Villa
Mike – RJ Coldren
Jumper – Lydia Shay
Spot Conlon/Tommy Boy – Joey Dutko
Director – Meriah Sage
Music Director – Micheal F. Anders, Ph.D.
Choreographer – Brenda Hoyt-Brackman
Set Designer – Kristin Ellert
Costume Designer – Kathy Newell
Lighting Designer – Jeff Dean
Props Designer – Jessica Leszkowicz
Technical Director – Mathew Stimmel
Stage Manager – Destiny DeWar
Assistant Stage Managers – Sara O’Bryan, Elaine Schaffter and Leah Chizmar
Fight Choreographer – Alexis Black
Assistant Fight Choreographer – Bryahah Austin
Community Partner – The Courier