Inspired by the large number of versatile male actors involved in North Moore High School’s drama program, the school’s award-winning teacher Kimberly Fielder-Jones said “Newsies, The Broadway Musical” was “the right show for this talented group”. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m. at the CE Hackney Auditorium at North Moore High School, Robbins.
Set in New York at the turn of the century, “Newsies” is the catchy story of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy who dreams of a better life away from the hardships of the streets. When publishing titans raise distribution prices at the expense of newspaper vendors, Jack rallies a group of teenage “newsies” from across town to strike against unfair conditions and fight for what’s right. Based on a true story, Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score from Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman with now-classic songs such as “Carrying the Banner”, “Seize the Day” and ” Santa Fe.”
“We’ve got a great cast and vocals group and we’ve got quite a few really good dancers in there. This show is fun and energetic,” Fielder-Jones said. “I wanted something that was fun from start to finish. the end for the audience. And I decided to stick with a Disney production this year as well, after we had so much success with “The Lion King” last year.
Logan Brown plays Jack Kelly and he will be joined on stage by Emma Mack, in the role of Katherine Plumber; David Cox, as Davey; Sydney Dunaway, Les; Zoie Jones, as Crutch; Elijah Brown, as Race; and Fernando Martinez-Guzman, as Albert. The 34-member cast also includes Mackenzie Banks, Yahir Betancourt, Emma Brady, Summer Brady, Dalton “Van” Brewer, Jace Brown, Lucien Brown, Ashlynn Cardozo, Autumn Caviness, Ace Deloya, Nicole Garner, Luke Gibbons, Jordan Hall, Ivy “Mars” Jones, Jada Mason, Travis Morgan, Lydia Nelson, Troy Poole, Damian Reyes-Bernal, Grant Ritter, Kelsi Sanchez, Alexander Simpson, Wesley Simpson, Ryan Stamapoulos, Dakeyah Tanner, Jalen Troublefield and Susan Turner.
“It’s a great ensemble show. The newsboys themselves are technically the ringleaders. Jack Kelly is the main character and the romantic lead, but the whole thing is the main reason I wanted to cast him. There is so much talent. It’s nice to have a show that lets them all shine,” Fielder-Jones said.
Elijah Brown, a senior from North Moore who plans to study acting in college, said ensemble work is something he really enjoys.
“This show is so much fun. We are really lucky to have our director (Fielder-Jones). She works so well with everyone in the cast. We all have different levels of experience and she’s very friendly to anyone who wants to come and enjoy the art,” Brown said. “We’ve all burned the candle at both ends, but when you do what you love, you don’t work. We are here having fun. It’s always a privilege to be on stage. »
Fernando Martinez-Guzman is also a senior at North Moore, but this is his first production with the theater program. He said a friend in his English class kept encouraging him to audition, until he finally tried. “I didn’t think it would be as fun as it is,” he said.
The scenography mimics the Broadway scene with scaffolding representing New York and different rooftops. The actors use the stage and also climb up and down ladders on the scaffolding during the show. There’s also a lot of dancing with a tap number, which Fields described as a first experience for many cast members. North Moore junior Jalen Troublefield choreographed the show with help from Skylar Fields.
The “Newsies” technical team also includes Clay Perry, musical director; Maycee Kimball and Veronica Cox; managers; Dalton “Van” Brewer, Technical Manager; and Aaron Garner, Stage Technician.
“Clay is my partner in crime,” Fielder-Jones laughed. “He’s fantastic with the kids. He is not only the group manager of North Moore, but we also co-teach the production class together. He is fabulous and our administration too. They support us 110% and are at each production to encourage us.
North Moore’s theater program has racked up accolades and awards in recent years, under the tutelage of Fielder-Jones and the direction of Principal Jennifer Purvis.
Fielder-Jones, a graduate of Union Pines High, returned to Moore County after college to teach students with special needs. She moved to Sandhills Community College, where she was a teacher in the early childhood education program for several years, but when she heard about North Moore’s work she decided to return to established roots as a as a student director and stage manager at Union Pins.
When she took the helm at North Moore in 2013, the theater program had fewer than a dozen students. These days, she works with more than 50 students in the class, in addition to the Spring Musical and participates in the NC Theater Conference play festival. North Moore has qualified to participate in the NCTC State Play Festival in four of the past five years, including a prestigious award in 2017 when North Moore students moved on to the Southeastern Theater Conference High School Festival in Alabama.
Last fall, the NCTC selected Fielder-Jones to receive its K-12 Theater Arts Educator Award for 2021.
North Moore also recently qualified to participate in the National Thespian Festival, slated for June in Bloomington, Ind. The festival is similar to the NCTC in that the school produces a one-act play of approximately 45 minutes which is scored and ranked against the performances of all competing schools. But it also gives students the opportunity to compete as individuals in categories like makeup design, singing, and delivering monologues.
During the planned gap between the NCTC season and the Spring Musical, students prepared and competed with “Booby Trap,” a military drama about a soldier on patrol while sitting on a landmine. The story follows his unit trying to help him while the soldier sits across the stage, his life flashing before him.
All of the “Booby Trap” cast members also star in “Newsies,” Fielder-Jones said.
During each performance, students will kick off a ‘Money in a Minute’ fundraiser by going into the audience with buckets for 60 seconds to raise as much money as possible for their upcoming June trip to Bloomington, Ind.
Performances of “Newsies, The Broadway Musical” will be Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m. at CE Hackney Auditorium at North Moore High School, 1504 N. Moore Road, Robbins. General admission is $15; tickets will be available at the door. The house opens 30 minutes before the show.