Stop the presses! ‘Newsies’ comes to the West Branch stage tonight-through-Sunday

West Branch High School will present ‘Newsies’ this weekend in the auditorium. Show times are 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Details including ticket information on page 7A. Among main cast members, from left, Nate Crick as Davey, Alli Kanagy as Les, Mitch Sharp as Jack, Tessa Wells as Katherine and Mario Chick as Crutchey. (Photo courtesy Dunlap Photography)

BELOIT — Stop the presses! This Disney film turned Tony-winning Broadway hit inspires everyone to fight for what’s right and seize the day. Disney’s “Newsies” is coming to the West Branch High School Auditorium stage today through Sunday under the direction of John Zamarelli. This stellar performance brings you everything that you love about Disney and American history.

“Newsies” is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When the titans of the newsworld, Pulitzer and Hearst, raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies the newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right!

The musical, based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by the true story of the 1899 newsboy strike in New York City, “Newsies” features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman with a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. The newsboy strike of 1899 lasted nearly two weeks and was significant in history as it was one of the first strikes carried out by children that ended with compromise meaning the kids won!

The stage story revolves around the life of young heroin, Jack Kelly. The show opens as Jack is savoring the last few moments of quiet before the sun rises.

He shares his rooftop view of the city and his dream for a better life out West in Santa Fe with his best friend Crutchie. At dawn, the newsies sing about their life and their work introducing the audience to this ramshackle group of young friends who sell newspapers in order to feed themselves. The first act takes the audience through the story of the newsies beginning their strike and gaining notoriety in the news with the help of up and coming reporter, Katherine Plumber.

Audiences will be transported through the war the newsboys begin to wage on the newspaper tycoons with exciting music and dance. Sophomore Macey Stancato and senior Tessa Wells have designed choreography for this production that includes tumbling, tantalizing, rhythmic movement and even tap!

“This show is one of the most physically demanding performances we have put on our stage in the past 25 years. These young ladies have helped our cast learn to tap and move in ways we never dreamed they would be able to do,” Zamarelli said.

Senior Mitchell Sharp will portray the strong and determined, Jack Kelly. Sharp is the son of Greg and Kristin Sharp and was last on stage in West Branch’s production of “West Side Story” this past spring.

Playing opposite of Sharp is senior Tessa Wells as the fierce Katherine Plumber, the ambitious, young reporter. She is the daughter of Doug and Lona Wells and has been in productions on the West Branch stage practically her entire life.

The youngest member of the cast is fifth grade West Branch Middle School student Alli Kanagy portraying the precocious younger newsie, Les. Her talent and spunk can be seen in every note she sings and word she speaks. Kanagy is the daughter of David and Mikki Kanagy.

Julia Zamarelli, daughter of John and Jennifer Zamarelli, will portray the huge personality of Medda Larkin and will dazzle audiences with her phenomenal acting and incredible vocal range.

Students in other leading roles include Nate Crick as Davey, Mario Chick as Crutchie and Dylan Daley as Joseph Pulitzer.

Rounding out Pulitzer’s office assistants are Carleigh Loudon Seitz, Kylie Dean as Hannah and Hannah Jones as Bunsen. Jimmy Cranston will be Pulitzer’s beloved barber, Nunzio and Ben Sparks will play the evil Snyder, owner of The Refuge orphanage. Jaylynn LaNave, Alaya Kiser and Olivia Mossow will play the bubbly Bowery Beauties and Kylie Dean, Alex Weingart and Alaya Kiser will portray the nuns. Mr. Jacobi will be played by Jimmy Cranston.

Rounding out the newsies in the cast are Macey Stancato, Danny Harrison, Jaylynn LaNave, Gabby Harrison, Chloe Townsend, Olivia Mossow, Kyle Hoopes, Makenzie Walsh, Carter Holodnak, Makenzie Walsh, Carte Holodnak, Jillian Zamarelli, Alaya Kiser, Anthony Lacivita, Ethan Chapman and Trent Adams. Jeff Legros will play the mayor and Cullen McKay will portray the evil Wiesel with his sidekicks James Fitzsimmons as Morris Delancy and Kyle Moreland as Oscar Delancy.

Chorus members include Alex Weingart, Macey Stancato, Danny Harrison, Gabby Harrison, Jaylynn LaNave, Chloe Townsend, Makenzie Walsh, Olivia Mossow, Carter Holodnak, Hannah Jones, Lexey Townsend, Cami Grindley, Rianna Gillingham, Jillian Zamarelli, Hannah Townsend, Mara Woost, Jess Hartzell, Shiann Schaefer, Mayze Leask, Madeline Davis, Jocelynn Woods, Bethany Caruthers, Tori Shields, Kamryn Briceland. James Fitzsimmons, Trent Adams, Ethan Chapman, Ben Sparks, Kyle Hoopes, Katie Kent, Avery Steiner, Tori McKay, Katie Flory, Rachel McGonagle, Lianna Gabrelcik, Marah Smith, Kaylyn Hicks, Kearstin Miner, Kaitlin Kidd, Alex Miller, Cheyenne Saulsberry, Sam Coffman, Ryley Pittman, Mackenzie Ruggles, Gracie Stillion, Cullen McKay, Kyle Moreland and Mariah Sexton.

Newsies tap dancers include Macey Stancato, Danny Harrison, Lianna Gabrelcik, Gabby Harrison, Jaylynn La Nave, Chloe Townsend, Makenzie Walsh, Jessica Hartzell, Olivia Mossow, Hannah Jones, Lexey Townsend, Cami Grindley, Rianna Gillingham, Alex Weingart, Jillian Zamarelli, Hannah Townsend, Mara Woost, Shiann Schaefer, Mayze Leask, Madeline Davis, Jocelynn Woods and Kylie Dean.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Adult tickets are $12 and student and senior citizen tickets are $10. Tickets may be purchased online at wbmusic.org or at the box office the day of the show. The box office will be open for purchases and will-call 45 minutes before the start of the performance. All seats are reserved and patrons are encouraged to make their reservations as early as possible.

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