‘Newsies’ strike at the JCC
Newsboy Jack Kelly plans to lead a group of young newspaper salesmen against big business Dec. 12, 14 and 15 at the Jewish Community Center, Allentown, when Stagemakers at the J presents the musical “Newsies.”
Based on a true story, the year is 1899, and New York City Publisher Joseph Pulitzer has made a set of rules making it difficult for young newspaper sellers to earn a living.
In an effort to enact change against these unfair practices, the young salesmen go on strike.
The show has music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman.
“It has been a great experience working with this talented cast,” Music Director Andy Kuklis said. “Their energy and enthusiasm are truly enjoyable.”
“Newsies” has a cast of about 50 kids.
“This is one of the largest we have ever had at Stagemakers,” Director Sarah Kuklis said.
“When they focus their energy together, watch out because they are unstoppable.
Kuklis also truly appreciates her production team.
“The music director has outdone himself, working on three-part harmonies with kids as young as 4,” Kuklis said.
“My stage manager has kept projects moving and been exceptional, helping me remember what needs to be done.
“The choreography features gymnastics and baton twirling. And, the set design team has helped me stay on top of everything.”
The set also includes painted designs by Tessa DeJesus, who plays Jack Kelly.
“And, the real unsung heroes are the parent volunteers, without them, the world we attempt to create on stage would be less rich.”
DeJesus of Fogelsville is in eighth grade at Northwestern Lehigh Middle School.
“Jack is an orphan who fends for himself and others he cares about,” DeJesus said.
“He comes across as cocky and rebellious, but, at his core, he has ideas of what life and family should be like.
“He is uncertain though if he can ever have those things. But when the strike begins, he discovers a side of himself he never knew he had.”
DeJesus loves her character because Jack is confident.
Anna Edwards of Allentown plays Crutchie. An eighth grader at St. Thomas More, she is performing with Stagemakers for her 20th time.
“Crutchie is a newsboy with a leg that does not work. That does not stop him from making jokes and finding the best in a bad situation though.
“His sense of humor and joyfulness is inspiring,” she explained.
Megan Holman from Kutztown plays David Jacobs.
An eighth grader at Northwestern Lehigh Middle School, she is performing for her first time with Stagemakers.
“I first heard about Stagemakers when some people I knew told me to see their performance of ‘Annie Jr.,’” Holman said. “That show blew me away.”
Noah Saborsky of Coopersburg said seeing professional shows on Broadway inspired him to do theater.
Saborsky plays Les Jacobs.
“Les is fun and amazing,” Saborsky said. “Although he is young, Les acts very grown-up. He is passionate yet scrappy at the same time.”
“During the show, I have one embarrassing line where I say I have a date. But the best part for me is when during one of my scenes I am flown around in the air like Superman.”
This will be the first time Cady Odher of Nazareth is performing with Stagemakers.
He plays Joseph Pulitzer and is in 12th grade at the Christina McAuliffe Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“I like getting to act in a way completely different from how I normally am,” Odher said.
“Mr. Pulitzer is the owner of a newspaper and uses his status to weaken the Newsies. I had to adjust to his demeanor and body language.”
Alyzah Avila of Wescosville plays Medda Larkin. She is in ninth grade at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts.
“I was told by a friend about Stagemakers holding auditions for ‘Newsies,’” Avila said. “I had to try out because it is my favorite show.
“Medda is a spunky and fierce character. She knows her worth and loves her lifestyle.
“I love Medda’s sense of humor, too, and the relationship she is able to develop with Jack Kelly. It can be challenging at times being organized with such a large cast, but the friendships I have made make it completely worth it.”
“Newsies” will be presented 7 p.m. on Dec. 12 and 14; and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown.