newsies

The Reston Community Players production will be staged at Capital One Hall

The Reston Community Players is bringing a youth-centered production of “Newsies” to Capitol One Hall’s 225-seat black box theatre in Tysons, with performances on weekends from July 8-17.

Based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, the hit Disney musical tells the story of Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist away from the big city. After publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices at the newsboys’ expense, Kelly and his fellow newsies take action.

Directed by Alisa Claire and Brian Collier of New York’s LM Project, the cast includes 28 Fairfax students, who are taking part in Reston Community Players’ second annual apprentice program, which provides an opportunity for young thespians to experience a pre-professional performance.

“This is a fantastic show for this age range and can be sort of genderless with some roles, and we’ve really been able to play with that, which is cool,” Claire said. “For teenagers today and where we are in the world, there’s a lot to fight for and things that they stand for, so that’s really relatable for them in the world of ‘Newsies’ and 1899, and understanding why it’s important to stand up for your rights.”

Kyler Neville and Oakton High School’s Gwen Ihde play Jack Kelly and his love interest, Katherine Plumber. And the rest of the cast consists of talented teens who deliver explosive dance numbers and great singing. 

Jahlil Greene, a 14-year-old who is a rising freshman at South Lakes High School, plays Morris Delancy, who he describes as “a tough and scary newsboy.”

“As Morris, I’m in a really fun fight scene where I’ve got to learn lots of cool fight choreography,” he said. “One of my favorite parts of working in this apprenticeship is the community the we have built and grown in such a short amount of time. When I come into rehearsal, I know that no matter how my day has started or might end, I will get to spend a few hours doing what I love with people who push me to be the best version of me.”

Henry Carter, who is going into his junior year at South Lakes High School, plays Davey, the brains behind the strike. 

“My character helps organize what the newsies must do next in order to have an effective strike and lower the price of the newspapers,” he said. “I have enjoyed learning the music of ‘Newsies’ the most throughout the production because before the show, I didn’t fully know each of the songs. Even after rehearsal, I enjoy listening to the soundtrack because all the songs in this show are amazing.”

Sydney Schneider, who recently graduated from Chantilly High School and will be going to Tulane University in the fall, plays Henry and is also the dance captain of the show. 

“Being dance captain, I am tasked with learning all the extraordinary choreography created by our directors Alisa and Brian, so I may help by teaching those who may have been missing and by making sure every dancer is clear on what they are doing,” she said. “Newsies on its own is such a dream show to be a part of. From the fiercely energetic songs, to the mind-boggling dances, to the wholesome message of unity in fighting for what’s right, ‘Newsies’ is a musical I have loved for a while and will continue to love much, much longer.”

As one of the leaders of the program, Claire feels it’s important to educate the students about the entire process and what it takes to put on a show, so they can take these lessons for any future production they’re in.

“It’s incredibly important to teach the values and work ethic, and is meant for kids who want to continue doing this down the road,” she said. “The kids are constantly growing as a team and a unit, and really feeding off each other’s energy.” 

“Newsies” will perform at Capital One Hall July 8-10, and July 15-17. Curtain time is 7 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For tickets, visit www.capitalonehall.com.

 

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