Newsies: Personal Experience


Natalie Hurley

Newsies Cast and Crew team picture.

After 9 weeks of rehearsals, memorizing lines, and learning songs, Newsies was coming to a close with only 7 shows to finish it out. Waiting quietly backstage was nerve racking, knowing that this time there was an audience in the seats that for the past 9 weeks, had been empty.

I remember just focusing on the fact that my sister was there, and taking a few jumps up and down before walking on stage for the first time that night. Although the first few steps were hard, and  the nerves would jump in my head sometimes again that night, I would let them, because sometimes if you’re nervous, it just means you’re passionate. Seven shows later, the spring musical was over, and I found out that I had an overwhelming amount of free time.

After portraying Katherine Plumber, a feisty, passionate, reporter, for the past 9 weeks, my hard work had paid off, and I had been able to show my progress to an audience through songs, dancing, and acting. The amount of work that each student puts into the productions at CHS is immense, no matter how small the role, and this is clearly shown during the productions. “My favorite part about being in the musical would probably be the moment I got to look into the audience and saw a little girl with her mouth hanging open, eyes wide, and on the edge of her seat,” said freshman, Maggie Mailee Redden.

This year’s musical, Newsies, was an extremely heavy dance production, specifically for the main “newsboys.” These cast members were typically at rehearsal five days a week, with an occasional Saturday. I had a small dose of that with one dance number and many blocking rehearsals, which were the rehearsals where the actors would receive stage direction for a scene,  but I was not needed in rehearsal nearly as much as the main newsies. Most rehearsals lasted from 3-6pm, while some were shorter, depending on what type of rehearsal it was.

Dance rehearsals were usually the longest, while blocking and vocals usually were shorter. The longest week was tech week. These rehearsals lasted from three to nine. During these rehearsals, we would be in costume and run the whole show. At the end, we would eat dinner and have notes about the run. Although all of this was hard work, it definitely paid off seeing how well audiences responded to the show.

I know that I will have a lot of memories from this show and the cast, as it was definitely a landmark in my year. After moving from Michigan in June, I still cannot express the acceptance that I have felt through this school’s theatre program. That is one reason why these shows feel so special, because everyone in the cast cares about one another, which makes performing together even more fun. Although the amount of hard work is huge, the reward is far greater.

I will never forget the feeling during Watch What Happens, Katherine’s solo song, when she is just talking to herself in her office and being indecisive out loud while also getting excited about her good ideas. This song was hard, but as I kept singing it, it just kept getting easier, and I was able to relate to it in ways I wasn’t able to while just listening to it. The feeling of singing and acting for an audience, and knowing that they’ll listen to you is something so special. It’s a moment when you can give the audience a piece of yourself through a song, and impact different people in different ways. You never know to what extent what you are doing impacts people. You can change someone’s whole mood in a manner of hours, and there is something magic about that. Though Newsies may be over, I plan to continue to be very involved in the drama program, because even though it is a lot of hard work, it is still very rewarding in many ways.