EDGERTON—Edgerton High School will present Disney’s “Newsies,” this weekend, with one of the biggest casts its drama department has ever seen.
The cast includes more than 50 students.
Shows are at Edgerton High School, 200 Elm High Dr., Edgerton, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov 4-5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.
“Newsies,” is the story of newsboy Jack Kelly as he and his band of teenage newsies take on the titans of publishing. When Joseph Pulitzer raises distribution prices at the expense of the newsboys, Jack rallies children from across the city to strike against unfair working conditions.
Jessica Wileman debuts as director for the high school’s productions, after starting in Edgerton as a choreographer for the drama program.
Wileman’s background is in theater. She has a degree from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and is passionate about telling stories.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Wileman said, of “Newsies.”
“I’ve never worked with that many students before. It’s been a learning process but they’ve been really gracious, loving and hard working.”
Wileman said she wanted to produce a play that was positive as the world came out of the pandemic.
“I always enjoy exploring the themes of community and coming together,” Wileman said. “This story is, besides great music and phenomenal dance numbers... shows how when people come together as a collective and use their voice and they really can impact change. I think that’s such an important message for all of us to hear right now.”
Three main actors are sophomores Andrew Gonzalez and Kody Almizyed, and junior Anthony Vitaioli. The three are good friends in real life so having to play opposite each other is exciting and comes natural.
“Every single show was in a triangle a little bit,” Gonzalez said.
“I play Crutchie and were besties in the show,” Almizyed agreed.
Gonzalez plays Jack Kelly, who is a bit egotistical and the leader of the Newsies.
“He’s a big influence on others and has a lot of fun at his job,” Gonzalez said. “He has big dreams too.”
Vitaioli plays the “bad guy” in the show, Pulitzer. He noted he usually plays the villain in productions he’s been in.
“I love it a ton because they always have a lesson to teach,” Vitaioli said. “Villains always are going for something and then the hero makes them learn something.”
Vitaioli said Pulitzer is fun to play because he has power and the Newsies come and knock him off his pedestal.
Almizyed plays Crutchie, a happy, upbeat guy who goes through some trying times which lead him to perform a sad number.
The three friends have enjoyed rehearsals.
“I have so many song and it’s like a little hard with your voice and your throat and keep it stable,” Gonzalez said. “I have some good solos in it. I think we all actually do. It’s always fun because then you get to show people what you have to offer.”
Vitaioli said in this show he has had the most dance numbers in his theater career.
“There’s about six,” Vitaioli said. “Each one has its own dance break to it. We have featured dancers and I’d say eight people that have been here since July working on tap numbers, doing aerobic activities and stuff like that to further elevate the songs.”
Almizyed said he is looking forward to the audience seeing the set that was created for this show which he describes as “the most insane set we’ve ever had.”
“Were building the whole moving scaffold they have in the Broadway musical, Almizyed said. “It’s gonna be up and down all over the scaffold they rearranged themselves in every scene, and it’s just ridiculously cool.”
Tickets for “Newsies” are $10 and can be bought online at tickets.edgertonpac.com.