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Newsies Cast and Directors Show Grit

Newsies Cast and Directors Show Grit

Just as the newsboys of 1899 faced obstacle after obstacle, the Newsies cast, crew and directors faced obstacles in rolling out their show; from Covid procedures to Winter Storm Uri, nothing could keep the Second Theatre Company from executing their show and providing much anticipated entertainment for their eager audiences. 

When the lights came up on an early morning scene on the streets of New York City, Zac Decker ‘21, playing legendary newsboy Jack Kelly, began with a poignant song. The audience seemed to sigh with relief, celebrating with the cast and crew that the show was finally here, settling in to watch a show after months lacking in-person entertainment.

To execute such a demanding show, students prepared in numerous ways. Thanks to directors Cindy Blades and Claire Westmoreland and generous donors, student actors were afforded opportunities to train from the very best, including New York choreographer Kimberly Schafer and fight directors from the University of Houston. Did you see that realistic fight scene? And the elaborately choreographed dance numbers earned well-deserved applause. The highlight of the show for many was the famous song and dance, “The King of New York,” complete with a high energy tap dance that wowed the crowd. 

Student actors share their immense gratitude for their directors who, time after time, insisted “the show must go on,” creatively tackling obstacles and pushing the students to do their best. The caliber of the performance was high, from the believable New York accents to the detailed costumes, you would never believe this show was executed by high school students. 

Samuel Ireland ‘23, described the passion and commitment of the directors in helping him with his role as “Crutchie,” and said, “The most challenging part about my role in the show was convincing people that I was truly crippled while also trying to fit in as much dancing as possible. Mrs. Blades and Mrs. Westmoreland prepared me for this role by telling me I needed to start using a crutch to act with from day one. They also really helped me with my New York accent.”

Kendall Felton ‘22 also praised the commitment of the theatre directors. “Mrs. Blades and Mrs. Westmoreland were incredibly intentional when it came to preparing us for this monster of a production - from putting themselves in the scenes to display how they wanted it to look to  belting notes and mimicking choreography, they were 1,000% involved with making the show look as amazing as it did.” Through the experience of a double cast, Kendall said the actors were encouraged “to support, assist and love one another through sharing the spotlight and exemplifying Christlike integrity,” exemplifying the mission of SBS.

Audrey Bishop ‘21, who played Buttons, also describes how the theatre company experience strengthened her faith. “At the beginning of every rehearsal, our directors led us in prayer to center our focus on using our gifts and talents for the Lord. One of the most emotional experiences in the process was before our last performance where we sang worship songs; while the parting of the Class of 2021 from our younger friends and each other is a reason for sadness, we will all remain brothers and sisters in Christ even after closing night.” She adds, “If you want to meet people who have passion and talent regardless of age or other activities, then theatre is the place for you.”

Lead Zac Decker concludes his “dream role” by saying, “My favorite part of any musical at SBS is the community and family that the Arts Department molds. By the end of the production you have trouble saying goodbye because of the blood, sweat and tears you pour into your cast.” 

Second Baptist School theatre students thank their directors and the entire SBS community for helping them make this fabulous show a reality. As an #SBSfamily, we are proud of our students, faculty and staff for their hard work and for sharing their talents with us to the glory of God!