Newsies - November 09 - November 11, 2017

George Washington High School



From Amy Farley, music director: I have absolutely loved working on this show!  Newsies has always been one of my favorite musicals.  My middle school friends and I were obsessed with the movie growing up.  We watched it at every slumber party and of course had a crush on each boy in the show because they could dance and sing!  So when Disney approached us to pilot Newsies, my inner middle school girl came out and I was BEYOND ECSTATIC! 


Thank you to the wonderful staff and administration at Washington High School who support the fine arts in so many ways.  Thank you to my fantastic fine arts colleagues who are such a delight to work with and make putting on a musical of this size possible!  Peter- thanks for being the world’s best colleague!  Kyle- thanks for demanding excellence and having so much commitment to the entire production.  You are great to work with!  Joel- thanks for being a master with the pit and always making it happen!  Thank you to my parents for buying me the Newsies VHS and for instilling great music in my life!  Thank you also to my wonderful husband, Matt, who has supported me and my long hours these last few months.  Your SUPER DAD skills have truly shined!  And finally, thank you to my wonderful students here at Washington who didn’t even blink an eye when I told them they had to sing 30+ high A’s in this show. You all work so hard and bring me joy through your attitudes, smiles, and music! 


From Kyle Woollums, director: "We're doing something no one's even tried, and yes, we're terrified but watch what happens!" 


This lyric has guided a significant portion of my work throughout this production. When a representative from Disney Theatrical Group called and asked if we were interested in piloting Newsies, we had no idea it was coming. In fact, we had already licensed a different musical for this year.


Admittedly, I had never even seen Newsies (either the 1992 Disney film or the stage adaptation). Then I started reading and researching the show and the true events that inspired it. How could we not go for it? The show is full of strong writing and great roles for young people. We had the creative team we needed to make it a success, and the story and its themes have become even more timely in recent years.


The creative team and cast have been working hard to produce the show you're about to see. Throughout this process, we've been documenting our work--triumphs and challenges--to help other schools that perform the show once it's open to general licensing.


I've been honored to work with incredible educators and students throughout this production. Our students have not only taken on this challenging material but also have worked tirelessly to refine and improve their performances. I always dare our students to go further than they think they can--and they've developed their performances impressively. Working with these young adults is always inspiring, and we're fortunate to have a diverse set of very talented students here at Washington.


Amy Farley has gone above and beyond in her role as music director for this show. Not only has she created one of the most powerful sounding ensembles I've heard in a high school, but also tracked down tricky costumes, and supported our production in countless other ways. Being able to collaborate with Bill & Pat Lammers on such a visually striking show has been a pleasure; they've put together incredible designs that add so much to our production. Joel Nagel has again formed and directed a strong group of instrumentalists ready to tackle the challenges of professional-level music. Andrew Steffen has joined our team this year and helped to direct the strings as well.


That we have been able to be a part of this process is a true honor. Disney Theatrical Group and Music Theatre International have been invaluable supports as we've forged ahead with brand new material. In particular, I'd like to thank Matt Hagmeier Curtis, a representative from Disney Theatrical Group and a Cedar Rapids Jefferson graduate, for helping facilitate the whole process, working with our students in-person, and giving our school and students such a thrilling opportunity. 


Newsies is a story about the power, passion, and hope of our young people. Our youth will change and improve our community, society, and world--it's time we listen to them and their ideas if we ever want to make things better.  As Jack Feldman (lyricist) puts it so eloquently, "Give those kids and me the brand new century and watch what happens." 


Thank you for coming to our school and supporting the performing arts. Please help us continue offering high-quality programs to our students by inviting your friends and family to join us at this or another production.



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