Theatre Company's production of Newsies opens in Visalia July 19
The Theatre Company’s summer production of Disney’s Newsies is based on the New York newsboys strike of 1899. Opening 120 years ago to the day of the famous strike that brought public awareness to the economic struggles faced by the boys who sold evening and weekend newspapers, Newsies is a rousing tale of the good young people can do when they work together.
During the 1890s, the most common job for city kids was selling newspapers. Some newsies were boys with no families or homes who lived in tenement houses. Most newsies, however, had homes to return to at night. They attended school during the day and sold newspapers at night and on the weekends. Although some girls also sold newspapers, the newsies were primarily boys ranging in age from 8 to 15.
In 1899, Joseph Pulitzer of New York World and William Randolph Hearst of New York Morning Journal raised the cost of the papers charged to the newsies without increasing the price paid by the public, thus greatly reducing newsies' profits. On July 19, newsies gathered in New York’s City Hall Park where they announced their strike – electing officers, forming a committee on discipline, determining a strike strategy, and sending out delegates to spread the word to newsies in other parts of the city. With the help of Katherine, a young reporter who shared their story, the newsies’ cause received the attention of New York Governor Teddy Roosevelt.
“The newsies strike of 1899 shows the spirit, courage, and strength of young people who band together for a common cause,” said Bethany Rader, Theatre Company director. “I believe it is for those reasons that this story has always been so special to me. The idea of children coming together for a common goal is very close to my heart because it closely resembles my job guiding and directing students in theatre.”
Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and is based on a production script by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. Featuring the now classic songs Carrying the Banner, Seize the Day, and Santa Fe, Newsies is packed with high-energy dance numbers and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family. Based on a 1992 movie of the same name, the musical version of Newsies premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2012, where it played for more than 1,000 performances before touring.
For more information on the Theatre Company’s production of Newsies, call (559) 651-1482.
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Tim A. Hire, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
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