The cast and crew of Buckeye Valley High School Troupe 6950 will present Disney’s Newsies: the Broadway Musical for three shows April 12-14.
The high energy non-stop musical Newsies: the Broadway Musical is based on Disney’s 1992 film, Newsies. The movie was inspired by the historical Newsboys strike of 1899 in New York City. The show’s music is by Alan Menken, the lyrics are by Jack Feldman, and the book is by Harvey Fierstein.
“The show never really has a blackout,” said Emily Kirtland, the musical’s director. “It’s quick, everything moves very suddenly all the time.”
Currently, like most school districts in Delaware County, the Buckeye Valley Local School District is on spring break. When the cast returns they will have less than two weeks to rehearse the nonstop fast-paced musical.
But, Kirtland doesn’t seem worried about the loss of rehearsal time because she said the week before leaving for the break the cast pushed hard so they could do the show from beginning to end.
“That way we have lived it and breathed it before the spring break,” she said. “We have to be on it because they run up and down the stairs so often that we have to get the rehearsal time in to make it quick enough without them falling. Then when we come back from break we’ll have a whole week to do it again clean.”
Kirtland said the show is prop-heavy with a lot of set pieces that move in and off of the stage during the show.
“We tap dance on tables in one scene, so we have our tables that come out and we tap on them,” she said. “Our printing press is a crucial piece in two of the scenes as well.”
Kirtland said the show isn’t lacking in the set department because of the Buckeye Valley parents.
“I have the best parent team in all the world,” she said. “The set is built by all of the parents and the crew.”
Kirtland said the core parents that are there every day do whatever it takes to put the show together.
“I have this core group of parents who come to rehearsals and sit here and don’t try to impede on my authority,” she said. “They are just here to help. We would have been a sinking ship if they hadn’t been here.”
But, Kirtland said she is short on cast members.
“We only have 30 people cast and crew combined,” she said. “I have three teachers who are in the show and for the most part it’s a great cast but it’s very small I need 10 more people for this show.”
Kirtland said she has had to improvise by “plugging in” crew member to be cast members as well.
“They’ll look at me and I’m like you’ll do great,” she said. “I’m throwing them into the deep end and thankfully they have awesome hearts and are willing to do it.”
Kirtland said she has been a vocals teacher in the Columbus area for 14-years and started directing musicals about 8-years-ago. She said Newsies is the first musical that she has been in charge of from the top down.
“I was always the musical part of the show, but this is my first time as director,” she said. “I hired a choreographer and I hired a musical director because I like to run things very professionally. I really tried to step up the game to what the kids are exposed to in the musical theatre.”
Kirtland runs a nonprofit theatre company in Columbus, Ohio Musical Theatre Institute (OMTI), which she said is now in its third year.
“We’re a nonprofit educational theatre company, a baby company,” she said.
Kirtland is also the musical director for a show being performed at Westerville South High School and an assistant vocal director for a show at Pickerington High School North.
How does she do it?
“Coffee, coffee, coffee,” she said. “This one opens first. The others open the end of April.”
Kirtland said she loves Newsies and that working with the cast and crew have been “a lot of fun.”
“I’m hoping to really blow the school’s socks off when they see it,” she said.
Disney’s Newsies: the Broadway Musical presented by Buckeye Valley High School Troupe 6950, 901 Coover Road, Delaware
• Friday, April 12 — 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, April 13 — 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, April 14— 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: Adults $15, Students $10
For reserved seating go online to https://search.seatyourself.biz/search/events?q=Buckeye+Valley
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.