'Newsies' kicks up some musical fun | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Culture » Culture Features

'Newsies' kicks up some musical fun

Disney's energized take on the 1899 carrier strike opens Friday

by

comment

"Extra! Extra! Newsies win game-changing battle with big media!"

Thoroughly Modern Productions brings the high drama and hijinks of turn-of-the-century, history-making paper boys—and girls—to the stage in "Newsies," a Disney musical based on real events following the Spanish-American War of 1898. The audience can follow the fun and fury as bottom-tier newspaper employees struggle to make it through the harsh economic changes brought on by the war.

The cast of "Newsies." - ELIZABETH WARNIMONT
  • Elizabeth Warnimont
  • The cast of "Newsies."

"It's a classic," director David DaCosta says of the production. "It hits every nerve. It crosses every political boundary. The little man against the big guy." That, and it's all set to an energized score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, whose 1,000-show run on Broadway alone was seen by more than a million people, before the show went on tour.

"The music of the period is a lot of fun. You don't hear music like that anymore. It's very sentimental. It's very sweet. It's fun," DaCosta says.

As paper sales drop off after the end of the war, the carriers, or hawkers, appeal to the publishers to drop the prices they have to pay for their bundles. Most of them are homeless already and need to earn more just to have something to eat. When the newsies find that their protests are met with violent retribution, however, they see there's real risk in pursuing their goals.

The protest movement grows with the help of neighboring communities, and even that of the press itself, with headlines broadcasting the carriers' plight. Eventually, the publishers and their carriers find common ground.

The scope of the production may be a record for TMP. "The show is a monster," DaCosta says. "It is gigantic." He says the company was concerned at first when they had 24 kids enroll in the summer program—because that's 24 roles to fill with actors. "But as it turns out, there are three, maybe four who are doubling up because we don't have enough people."

Actors relax while awaiting their scenes. - ELIZABETH WARNIMONT
  • Elizabeth Warnimont
  • Actors relax while awaiting their scenes.

"The emotional energy and purpose that these kids are bringing has been super," DaCosta says of the youth segment of the cast. "They have the ideas and the concepts and an understanding of the story, the human element of it all."

TMP offers a Summer Intensive program for ages 8 to 18 at any level of experience. All students are placed in a production. "The kids come during the day and rehearse their parts, from whatever show they are in, then at night they come to rehearsal," DaCosta explains. Beginning this year, TMP is also offering a Master Class, which focuses on one show at a time. "The age range for that is 13 to 18. 'West Side Story' was the first production we did that with. If they don't want to be in the Master Class, say if they don't like the show it's associated with, then they still have the option [to attend the broader-based Summer Intensive program].

"I never want to compare," DaCosta continues, "but I will say 'Newsies' has been the most fun show to sink our teeth into, to attack as a team, to watch unfold every night. I'm very excited."

Add a comment

More by Elizabeth Warnimont

Latest in Culture Features