-Hardworking cast of Newsies headlines at The Holly this week

  • The cast of Newsies at The Holly takes a bow following its final rehearsal on Thursday, July 25. The show is filled with high energy dances and songs and keeps the audience engaged throughout, often taking the action off the stage and into the crowd. The musical is scheduled to run the next two weekends (August 2-4 and 9-11).
    The cast of Newsies at The Holly takes a bow following its final rehearsal on Thursday, July 25. The show is filled with high energy dances and songs and keeps the audience engaged throughout, often taking the action off the stage and into the crowd. The musical is scheduled to run the next two weekends (August 2-4 and 9-11).
Body

After working tirelessly in rehearsals for three months, the cast of Newsies impressed audiences with its opening weekend at The Holly Theater. Knowing the musical coming up was “extra-extra” special, Adam Jarrard started preparing even earlier.
“I think I started praying for auditions in January,” Jarrard said, “picking my song and getting everything right.”
Jarrard plays Jack Kelly, the natural leader of the newsies who starts the musical singing ‘Sante Fe,’ a song about his dream life far away from the stress of New York City. For Jarrard, playing the lead role in Newsies was always his “Sante Fe.”
“This is my favorite musical of all-time,” Jarrard said. “This is my number one dream role, right here, Jack Kelly. Sometimes it’s a little surreal, to be there.”
Jarrard’s counterpart in the musical is Brooke Blackwell, who plays Katherine Plumber, the up-and-coming journalist that finds herself chasing the biggest story of her young career and falling in love with that story’s subject, Jack Kelly. Much like the characters in the show, Blackwell recalls her first viewing of Newsies The Musical as love at first sight.
“I’ve seen two broadway shows ever, and that was when I was like 13,” Blackwell said.
One of those was Newsies.
“I didn’t really know what it was, but I thought it sounded cool and it was Disney so I said [I wanted to see] Newsies,” Blackwell said. “It was so good and I remember feeling so much energy and it was literally magical. I’ve been in love with the show ever since.”
Newsies tells the story of the newsboys of New York City that fought against the powerful newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Hurst to bring better working conditions to those selling newspapers in the city. The movie, Newsies, made by Disney, was released in 1992 and eventually inspired Newsies The Musical, which was performed on Broadway from 2012 to 2014 before touring for two more years. Both the movie and the Broadway show were inspired by the Newsboys Strike of 1899.
Appropriately, the hard-working newsies of 19th Century New York were cast by another hard-working group, according to director Nathan Gerrells.
“We’ve been working so hard,” Gerrells said. “We’ve got an awesome team, but this is just a beast to put together. To get all these moving pieces working at the same time, so we’ve had lots of late-nights recently putting it together, but I’m so excited for audiences to see it.”
Like in any theatrical performance, learning the lines was a major portion of the work. However, harnessing an accurate portrayal of the century-old accent that transcends the set of The Holly to the streets of Manhattan was an added challenge, especially for Jarrard in the main role.
“It’s a very difficult role, there’s a lot in it,” Jarrard said of his casting as Jack Kelly. “Especially an accent when I’m kind of a country bumpkin trying to pull off a New York accent, I had to perfect it.”
Like Jarrard, Gerrells also has a special connection to Newsies, making this production a dream-come-true for its director, who also plays as one of Pulitzer’s advisers in the show.
“I’ve loved the show since I saw the movie as a teenager, so I was introduced to that when I was maybe 15 and just fell in love with it and listened to the music non-stop as a teenager and have been wanting to do this show since I knew it was a thing, so I’m really excited that I finally got to do it,” Gerrells said.
Gerrells hopes the compelling story coupled with the passionate performance by the cast leaves the audience inspired when the show is over.
“It’s just such a feel-good show, you just leave feeling empowered and like you can go and conquer the world and I can’t wait for our audiences to experience that,” Gerrells said.
The Holly Theater website rates Newsies PG, due to mild profanity and violence. The musical will be shown Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. for the next two weeks (August 2-4 and 9-11). Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and members of the military and can be purchased at hollytheater.com. Gerrells says to come expecting “high energy.”
“There’s so much dancing, there’s so much singing and the music is so energetic. It’s going to feel like you were working out just sitting there watching it.”