Newsies prepare to strike

The cast of “Newsies” rehearses the song “Carrying the Banner” on Monday night. The final few pieces of the production are being worked out in preparation for two performances this weekend. Photo by Dan Mundt

The cast of “Newsies,” the fall musical at Denison High School (DHS), practiced with the pit orchestra for the first time last week.

Lights, microphones and sound were also incorporated into rehearsals for the first time, said language arts instructor Laurel Olsen, who is the director.

DHS vocal teacher Kandice Thompson is directing the singing and Ruben Newell, DHS instrumental music instructor, is directing the orchestra.

Olsen said rehearsals are going well. “It’s starting to feel like we are almost there,” she said.

The production is more complicated than last year’s musical, Guys and Dolls.

Newsies has a larger cast and a bigger set - with lots of moving parts.

“There are a lot of scene changes within scenes, which means that most scene changes happen right in front of the audience’s eyes,” Olsen said.

The actors have been rehearsing how to change scenery as the play continues.

“Staying in character and singing is challenging while you’re moving scaffolding,” she said.

The point of performing scene changes as the play continues is to keep the story flowing without as many blackouts, she said.

“We modeled it a lot after the Broadway version,” Olsen said.

She praised the cast for the high level of effort they have put into the production.

“They are great leaders and have been very responsible,” she said. “There is a lot of dancing and the kids are doing a good job with the dancing, so it doesn’t seem like it’s a whole lot more work than other shows.”

Finding some of the props for a period piece set in 1899 has proved to be a challenging task.

Ann Platt, of The Junkery in uptown Denison, loaned the production items such as an authentic early 1900s typewriter and a shaving set.

“I don’t know how we would have found some of those things because most people don’t have a 1900s typewriter sitting around their house,” Olsen said.

Finding an authentic printing press proved impossible, so the crew is creating one from scratch with part of an old corn sheller.

Many others have donated to the production, as well.

Olsen said she looks forward to presenting the show to an audience.

“It’s a fun show and the cast has worked very hard,” She said. “It’s great for the whole family.”

Newsies will be performed Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the DHS Fine Arts Center.

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