Urbana High School Theatre continues with the themes of advocacy and justice by putting on Disney’s Newsies. This musical is based on the newsboy strike of 1899 where more than 5000 young boys from New York took a stand to boycott newspaper deliveries in an effort to end unfair and unsafe child labor conditions.
“Newsies brings a great message, as well as more challenging dance and choreography than we have done in a long time,” said Theatre Director, Tim Broeker.
Choreographer and Assistant Director Alyssa Pavlakis has been working with students and offering dance clinics since last summer. She said, “Newsies is a tale of big business versus ‘the little man.’ It tells the story of individuals fighting to create a union and get the rights they deserve. They do not give up; Likewise, our newsies of UHS have worked similarly through difficult song and dance.” Broeker and Pavlakis also expressed how they appreciated the collaboration this show has allowed with the larger C-U community. The UHS theatre group has connected with other individuals and groups such as dialect and dance coaches from the University of Illinois and a former teacher in the Urbana School District who now works for Disney Theatrical.
UHS students voiced their enthusiasm for the education on advocacy this show has provided. Le’Brea Sterling who plays Medda Larkin said, “My character is a woman of color who owns her own business, which was kind of a big thing then…and now.” Senior, Jeremiah Sterns stated, “Newsies carries important lessons about sticking up for yourself and the importance of friends.” The company, made up of 41 cast members, 35 technical crew members, and a dozen educators are set to “seize the day” to allow their voices to be heard and their dance moves to shine.
Newsies will be performed at 7:00 pm May 1 – 4 and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, May 5. All performances will be in the Urbana High School Cobb Auditorium, 1002 S. Race Street. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults and are available at the box office, which opens 30 minutes prior to each performance.
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