Musical “Newsies” Opens This Week at Paul Revere
By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter
After several months of rehearsal and a collective effort by parents, students and faculty, the curtains at Paul Revere Charter Middle School will open to premiere a rendition of Disney’s “Newsies” on Friday, April 26.
“Newsies” is based on the true story of children in the newspaper business who stand up against an unfair pay structure in New York City that lasted two weeks and resulted in a buyback program that helped newspaper hawkers earn more money.
When Director Lara Ganz was given the opportunity to work with her students on a new production, “Newsies” stuck out.
“I thought it was a musical I could get them excited about, but it’s also a teaching moment [where I could] put on a story of these courageous kids,” Ganz said.
Ganz held a schoolwide open audition for anyone who wanted to be a part of the show, which resulted in an extra day of auditions due to so many students trying out for a role.
But the process was not all smooth sailing, as auditions were initially postponed due to the teachers’ strike in January.
“That was really interesting to have that happening at the same time as the auditions and to able to tell the kids, ‘What’s happening around you at this moment is exactly what this show is about,’” she said.
Once rehearsals began in February, it became apparent that pulling this operation together would take more than an experienced director and a cast of willing students, with a show that’s twice as long as their usual production.
With a budget of zero, Ganz explained that ticket sales alone would not be enough to raise funds, forcing them to get creative.
“The parents have been doing bake sales, and they’ve been coming in and selling snacks at every rehearsal,” Ganz said. “Parents are building sets, parents are making the costumes, the parents are assembling all the props and set design.”
Harriet Fraser, from the LA Master Chorale, is the show’s music director.
Even parents with no involvement in the show are lending a helping hand, as some who work as sound engineers are borrowing their expertise after the school lost its sound system.
“It’s really a community effort, and I feel like this is not in a community theater but it feels like the community really coming together and really making this happen,” said Ganz, who is especially grateful to the Paul Revere faculty who have been there along the way helping with whatever she needs.
“Newsies” will open on Friday, April 26, with repeat performances by a double cast on Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28.