It’s been 10 years since a group of Newsies first seized the day at the Nederlander Theatre, so this calls for a celebration, right? And you might know all the words to the hit musical but do you really know what actually happened to the real-life Newsies of New-York and how their revolution ended? Or how Disney’s Newsies eventually went on to become one of Broadway’s most popular shows?
10 years later, we had the incredible opportunity to chat with some former newsies. Here they talk about their journey playing some iconics characters in Newsies, their relationships with their characters and the legacy of the hit-musical.
How did you first get involved in the show?
I finished college about two months prior to the open call for Newsies at the Papermill Playhouse. I attended a couple auditions prior to this one. This audition was wild! People flipping all over the place, so many talented dancers. I just kept my head down and tried to have as much fun as possible. I kept getting callbacks, so I did what I could to take notes from the creatives and stay out of my own way, psychologically. After a month of auditions and callbacks, I received an offer for the show.
10 years later, do you think the message of the show still resonates with the younger population?
That’s a tough question, but I think that the show still resonates with them. I think they’re ready for another show like Newsies that shares the same themes. I think they’re ready for something a little more on the nose, something relevant to the current times we’re living in. A modern day revolution musical could really hit home for them.
What do you think is the legacy of Newsies?
Similar to the themes, it’s about organizing, and strategizing, and fighting back as a collective to demand better for the people who deserve it. That plus the singing and dancing. Everyone loves to see a group of high flying newsies belting out to fight the power! The music gives you chills.
What is the biggest challenge you have taken away from your experience in Newsies?
Working on Broadway is a marathon, not a sprint. Newsies was originally a limited run, and then ended up running for over two years. Longevity in a run means taking care of your heart, body, mind, and voice. Every person is wired differently and every body is different. Finding things that help me get through 8 shows a week will be different from others. For example, I love yoga, rock climbing, dance class, and HIIT training to keep my body strong and ready for whatever. Also, physical therapy is a lifesaver. Love your PTs. Listen to your PTs!
What was your relationship with Race, your character, like?
Honestly, Race and Ryan are very similar. In middle school I had a behavioral contract with my teachers because I loved to be the class clown. Racetrack Higgins was the quintessential newsie. He carried himself with confidence and charm. He jumped at the opportunity to be a leader. I felt connected to the idea of diving in head first in my first Broadway show and taking on this challenge. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
What is your favorite memory of the show?
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific memory. I will wrap up a bunch of memories with a theme of ‘firsts’. First time being on The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, first Broadway contract, first cast recording, first Tony Awards performance. There’s a YouTube wormhole of Newsies content that anyone can access where Andrew Keenan-Bolger takes you behind the scenes for all of these moments, and it’s so much fun to revisit.
“First time being on The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, first Broadway contract, first cast recording, first Tony Awards performance.”
We always say, Newsies forever, is it true?
Newsies Forever! I love hearing about actors’ personal connections to the movie or the Broadway production. I love how many people have gotten to experience this show either by watching it or performing in it. I run into Newsies everywhere. I’m now at the age where I’m working alongside people who saw the show and were inspired to pursue theater because of it. That is a special thing.
“I’m now at the age where I’m working alongside people who saw the show and were inspired to pursue theater because of it. That is a special thing.”
What’s next for you?
I am returning to Broadway with Beetlejuice The Musical this April! We have been shut down since March 11th 2020, but the show is set to return at the Marriott Marquis. Tickets are on sale so spread the word!
Find out more about Newsies’ 10th anniversary in our latest issue!