Lake Michigan College's Visual & Performing Arts Department in partnership with Children's Music Workshop's TeenStock program presents Disney's "Newsies" at 7 p.m. Friday, July 12, Saturday, July 13 and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 14 at The Mendel Center Mainstage on the Benton Harbor campus.
LMC, which has long been a sponsor of CMW's summer programs, has now partnered with the nonprofit, inclusive youth theatre organization to take a more active role in the TeenStock production as well as CMW University, a weeklong, audition-based camp designed for serious theatre students who wish to improve their performance skills. The University camp is held Monday, July 22 through Friday, July 26 also at The Mendel Center.
"LMC Visual & Performing Arts is thrilled to be partnered with CMW this summer for both TeenStock and University programs," LMC Music Director and incoming Department Chair Kristopher Zook said. "By combining our two summer musical theatre experiences, we believe we can reach even more young artists and provide our community with many outlets for artistic discovery. It's a no-brainer!"
Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, "Newsies" is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy, and leader of a band of teenaged "newsies." Based on the historical newsboy strike of 1899 and the 1992 motion picture, when titans of publishing William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer 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.
"Newsies" features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, including the memorable songs, "Carrying the Banner," "Seize the Day," and "Santa Fe."
"Everything about this show, from the music and choreography to the themes of friendship, justice and doing the right thing, is engaging on every level from beginning to end," "Newsies" director Meagan Francis said. "From the newsies' rallying cries as they're standing up for one another to the individual ‘buddy stories' within the script to the budding love story, this show is a blast to perform and even more fun to watch. The energy level this cast delivers is through the roof!"
Joshua Weber stars as Jack Kelly. Other principal members of the nearly 40-person cast are Maxamillion Paar (Crutchie); Braden Lynam (Davey); Zoe Shaw (Les); Aly Wilson (Katherine); Amber Case (Medda Larkin); and JD Hall (Joseph Pulitzer).
In addition to Francis, the production team includes choreography from The Citadel Dance & Music Center's Lari Lawrence-Gist and music direction from Zook, who will be leading a live orchestra of high school instrumentalists, LMC band members, and professional musicians. It will be the first time in several years that CMW has staged a musical with a live orchestra.
"Children's Music Workshop has held performances and workshops at LMC for many years," CMW Executive Director Adrienne Glisson said. "It seemed like a natural step to join forces for our TeenStock programs. We are especially thrilled LMC is providing a live orchestra for ‘Newsies.' The live theatre experience is really enhanced by live music."
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and free for LMC students with ID. To purchase tickets, call (269) 927-8700 option 1, visit The Mendel Center website or stop by the LMC Box Office located at The Mendel Center's Grand Upton Hall entrance.
Disney's "Newsies" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.