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Drama Club takes “Newsies” field trip

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Over the weekend, the Drama Club took a field trip to see the Marriott Theatre’s production of “Newsies” with an added bonus of seeing student Sam Griffin as part of the cast.

Photo by Isabelle Dyer
“Newsies” Playbill.

Based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, the musical tells the story of Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist in Santa Fe, away from the big city. After publishing titan Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices with no regard to the hardships of the newsboys, Kelly and his fellow newsies take action. With help from the beautiful female reporter Katherine Plumber, all of New York City soon recognizes the power of “the little man.”

Photo courtesy of Marriott Theatre
Newsies strike for fair wages, united as a union against the publishing titans.

Drama teachers Rebecca Marianetti and John Forsythe, along with other chaperones, accompanied the Drama Club on a trip to see Griffin play the role of Henry, one of Kelly’s fellow newsboys.

“Sam was exceptional and we are all so happy for him,” said York Drama teacher Mrs. Marianetti. “Marriott’s reputation for putting on quality theatre is incredible, and the show was outstanding.”

The Marriott Theatre uses a “theatre in the round” type stage, a creative alternative to the more common proscenium format; this means the stage was surrounded by audience seating on all sides. This configuration lends itself to high-energy productions and allows the actors to captivate the audience. Actors entered and exited through the audience from all different directions, removing the fourth wall and bringing the actor into the same space as the audience. The set design was kept minimal in order not to obscure the audience’s view of the performance, only using items that can be wheeled on and off of the stage easily.

Photo courtesy of Marriott Theatre
Newsboys prepare to fight against an unfair raise in newspaper prices.

Many of the York audience members are friends with Griffin, and were in anticipation for his performance.

“Seeing Sam perform up on stage was SO surreal,” said senior Danielle Fite. “As a friend, I felt beyond proud and ecstatic for where he is now! He’s such an amazing dancer, performer, and friend and seeing him just made my heart so happy.”

Photo courtesy of Danielle Fite
Senior Sam Griffin poses with senior Danielle Fite at a party after opening night.

Others in the audience have known Griffin for many years, and are extremely proud to see where his accomplishments have led him.

“I’m so excited to see Sam,” said senior Anna Triska. “I’ve known him since sixth grade and it’s been amazing to see him through this journey and see how his performances have gotten better and better each year.”

Photo by Isabelle Dyer
Junior Jacki Riek , Senior Anna Triska, and freshmen Kathryn King, and Lucy Valeski anticipating the start of the show.

The performance was filled with catchy tunes that depict the struggle of being a newsboy in New York City in 1899, along with captivating choreography. The technical ability of the dancers was astonishing.The dance breaks in the show were remarkable to watch, as the young men playing gritty, streetwise guys, filled the stage with the kind of big, fearless, athletic movement that perfectly conveyed their rough-and-tumble world. Dance in stage musicals can take many different forms. In “Newsies” it can come out of nowhere and helped the narrative along through movement.

The actors who play the newsies are acrobatic and risk-taking, excelling in huge split leaps and lofty, arcing barrel turns. Many of them clamber artfully around the towering scaffold-like set, depicting New York- style hanging fire escapes.  Many of them also prove to be talented gymnasts, hurling themselves across the stage in back handsprings, flips, and layouts. The tumbling conveys the playfulness of the boys and the energy they exude. There are other movement phrases – smaller, and more gestural, in which they attack with similar focus: a foot stamp, a punch, as if saying, “I am going to give this everything I have, and I am not going to give up.” For many of the York audience members, this was the first time seeing “Newsies” and the show certainly lived up to its expectations.

Photo courtesy of Marriott Theatre
In an exciting, acrobatic dance routine, dancers throw “papes” as they do their captivating tricks.

“Coming from someone who has never seen the show or heard the soundtrack, I absolutely loved it,” said junior Evie Nudera. “The whole production was absolutely phenomenal. The finishing touch was seeing one of my good friends on that stage.”

Photo by Isabelle Dyer
Drama club members getting ready to start the show. (Pictured front from left to right) Seniors: Alex Wood, Bailey Maguire, and Julia Lussow. (back left to right) juniors: Joe Brown, Evie Nudera, sophmores: Julia Stone, Sean Solem, and Sebastian Rohn.

Throughout the show Griffin astonished York Students with his impeccable dancing and acting abilities, and it was a spectacular experience for the Drama Club to have the opportunity to watch the musical.

“Watching Sam’s journey from the Bryan MS auditorium to the Marriott-Lincolnshire theater was just inspiring and a testament to all his hard work,” said Nudera.

Photo courtesy of Marriott Theatre
The Newsies strike a powerful pose at the end of an inspiring number.

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