The Tony Award-winning musical, “Newsies,” has made its way to Menomonie. Directed by Katie Shay and co-directed by Julee Reckin-Thierer, “Newsies” is based on the 1992 movie which draws off the newsboy strike of 1899 in New York City. In the summer of 1899, the major heads of the newspapers started raising their prices. The newsies, young men and women, most of them children, disagreed with this price raise, banded together and went on strike. They proceeded to overturn carts and destroy newspapers—it was violent. Toward the end, the newsies rallied with a total of 10,000 protestors to change the minds of the executives.
Katie Shay, director of the upcoming musical and president of the Menomonie Theater Guild, has been with the guild since 2004. Whether acting or directing, she says she is always up to the challenge and enjoys her work. This is the seventh show she has directed, her favorite being “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” She said, “I could not have done [“Newsies”] without Julee and the rest of the team, for it’s a big production.” Julee Reckin-Thierer has less theater experience than , but she is no stranger to co-directing with her. They both help each other out in the process of notetaking and working with an energetic cast.
The “Newsies” cast ranges from age 6 to 60 with varying experience in theater. Katie Talberg, a 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student, plays Katherine Plumber. Logan Rue, who plays the character Les, is a fourth grader at River Heights Elementary School and said he caught the theater bug after performing in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Stone Weidner, playing the lead role of Jake Kelly in the musical, has been in various other shows and plays including “Cinderella” and “Pippin.” Stone said, “Honestly, I have always been a fan of Jeremy Jordan, who was in “Newsies,” and I just kind of followed some of his stuff and came across a song he sings in the show. I ended up making it my audition song for other shows, so when I heard they were doing “Newsies” I already knew the audition song.”
Talberg commented on how it’s sometimes easier to work with a child cast rather than an adult cast. “Kids are more adaptable, I would say, and easier to add something quick and they’ll just get it right away,” said Katie. The crew work together by taking notes and adjusting scenes. This allows them to catch things that others might not have seen and change it. Talberg and , along with the rest of the cast and crew are working hard to make this an amazing performance.
The production starts on October 11th starting at 7:30pm with general admission of $20 and $18 for students, seniors, and military. It’s a really powerful story with a wonderful soundtrack for the whole family. So, come out and support the Menomonie Theater Guild in their show, Newsies.