It’s time to carry the banner on your stage with Disney’s Newsies!
Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right.
BASED ON A TRUE STORY Newsies is based on the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899. The New York newsies – boys and girls who sold newspapers on the street – went up against two newspaper publishers, Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal, to fight for the chance to earn a livable wage. The Spanish-American War made New Yorkers hungry for headlines, and circulation boomed as a result. Once the war ended, people were less inclined to buy newspapers – war was bad for the world, but great for the newspaper business. The strike was the result of the newspaper publishers refusing to lower the newsies’ cost-per-paper back down to the pre- war prices. The newsies were not willing to pay more for their papers to make up for a lack of headlines, so they decided to strike – their goal was to make the newspaper tycoons treat them as legitimate members of the business.
Newsies sell their “papes.” Photo by Alice Austen (1896) – Not Robby Njos
Striking for two weeks, from July 20 to August 2, 1899, the newsies eventually came to a compromise with the publishers: The price would stay the same, but the publishers would buy back any papers that the newsies couldn’t sell. This was a significant moment in history: It was one of the first strikes carried out by children and it ended in compromise. The kids succeeded!
Selling newspapers was a lucrative and freeing enterprise for young children at the turn of the 20th century. The newsies of New York City were popularly admired as “little merchants,” for unlike children working in factories, the newsies were free to set their own hours and determine how many papers they would sell each day. However, the newspaper controlled the wholesale price and kids commonly worked up to 14 hours per day to make enough money to survive. It wasn’t unusual for newsies to exaggerate the headlines or make up sad stories about themselves to sell more papers. They would often fumble and stall while making change in the hopes that the customer would get impatient and let them keep the difference.
While there were newsgirls as well as newsboys, they were less common. One reason for this is that localities that had age limits for labor often required that working girls be older than working boys. In some states, girls had to be 16 to sell newspapers but boys only had to be 10. Newsies were most frequently between 11 and 15 years old, and a large portion of urban children worked as newsies at some point, even if just temporarily. Newsies came from nearly every ethnic group, so it was class that most defined them; the vast majority came from working class families that did not control their own businesses.
Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, Newsies features a Tony Award- winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies is packed with non-stop thrills, epic choreography, and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family and every audience. Mark your calendars now! The show runs in November, 2018!
The production at Moorhead High school will be lead by the artistic team of Rebecca Meyer-Larson (Director), Annie Richards (Music Director), and choreographer to the stars, Meleah LePlante. Along with a skilled team of designers, this show is sure to be a hit.
With music by Elton John, Disney’s AIDA tells the tale of a forbidden love between an enslaved Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier forced to face death or part forever. Together, they set a shining example of true devotion that ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
More than 130 students have come together to create this epic musical that blends humor, passion, comedy, and tragedy. Director Rebecca Meyer-Larson says, “It feels good to do a show that begins with the lyric ‘This is a story of a love that flourished in a time of hate’, and our company of 130+ young artists takes this message to heart.”
AIDA will be performed at the Moorhead High School auditorium November 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on November 12 & 19. Tickets can be reserved online at http://www.MoorheadSchools.org/tix or by calling the MHS Activities Office at 218-284-2255 beginning October 30, when general ticket sales begin. ADVANCED ticket sales: Patrons who buy a $10 button from a theater participant will be able to buy up to 10 tickets one week earlier, on October 23, getting the best selection of seating.
Moorhead High Theater strives to make its performances and facilities accessible to all patrons. On November 11, we will have a sign language interpreted performance. For tickets for this performance or if you need additional assistance, please contact our Activities Office.
It’s the best week of the year – a week of no school, no assignments, and no work – but every fall for a special group of students on a filthy, “jankety” stage, EM break is no time for rest. EM break is no break at all, in fact. While most Moorhead High School students spent the week relaxing, sleeping in, and watching Netflix, MHS Theatre’s cast of “Little Shop of Horrors” was hard at work.
You’d be amazed at how much sacredness a worn down auditorium in the little town of Moorhead, MN can hold, but I can assure you some of the best and most important moments in my life have happened on that stage, and during this “break”. In between hours of character development, choreography, vocals, sitz probes, costume fittings, haircuts, and blocking, bonds are created unlike any other, and important traditions are upheld.
This year, our week started with the ever-anticipated “Guys’ and Girls’ nights”. This tradition has been passed down over more years than I can remember, and this year did not disappoint. Bonding with some of my favorite ladies and celebrating our “WOMYN” seniors made this night one I’ll remember forever. Celebrating right away at the beginning of the week secured these bonds so early in the process, and made the entirety of the week even more fun.
The amount of fun we had over EM break was proportional to the sense of accomplishment we felt in finishing choreography and blocking and perfecting vocals. We spent up to ten hour days working hard to “grow” our talent, characters, and set. Our “roots” are “planted” deep in this program, and we worked hard for long days to make this show one that we’re proud of, and one that our alumni will be proud of too. We were determined to “leaf” everything we had on that stage until we “git it” right because we know the (quite literal) blood, sweat, and tears that are permanently a part of our theater from every artist who’s been lucky enough to perform in it. I think our alumni will be proud of how we’re “flower”ishing and continuing the legacy that is Moorhead High Theatre. (I’m sorry about the puns but come on, I had to.)
As much as EM “break” is exhausting, hard, and full of work, the amount of fun we have and connections we create over one short week are invigorating. Between pool parties, cast karaoke, homemade soup, throwback choreography, purple- painted- fingertips, Nerf battles, wobbling, vanilla- frosted- cars, sitz probes, alumni visits, honoring past shows, ah so ko, Duanes, and blanket forts, I’d say we might just be the luckiest cast in the world. And while the frosting may never come off my front windshield (thank you boys), while no one may ever be able to top Erhard’s German rendition of “Defying Gravity”, while Sarah and I always seem to be the last to Duanes, and while the boys may never admit to the womYn victory in our Nerf battle, I know that I will cherish these precious moments I get to spend with these people forever. I love my cast.
And “Suddenly”, it was over. The long days of more work and fun than I could ever begin to describe fade away, and “Suddenly” I only have one EM break left. . . Every year it seems like I have “seyMOUR” fun than I think possible, and every year I leave with a new sense of family, a new sense of cellblock partners in “crime”, a new ubuntu “tribe”, a new “Scream” squad. I am so unbelievably thankful for these experiences, and I cannot WAIT to unleash this show to the world in just three short weeks.
“Look out. . . Here comes Audrey II….”
(Forever Cell Block Girl, Terk’s Girl, Crystal)
I’ve been watching Moorhead High Theatre productions for years and they never cease to amaze me. I never think that they can top the previous show, but they always manage to do it. The moment I walked into Moorhead High School, I knew I had to be a part of this program.
The audition process was one of the most stressful times in my life. As a freshman, I had no idea what to expect. It was all worth it when I found out I would be a part of this year’s show. Coming in the first day, I had no idea what I was walking into. I was, and still am, a scared little freshman in a new school, but I have never felt more welcomed. In my opinion, theatre people are the best people in the world. Everyone is so accepting, supportive, and unique. I often find myself looking forward to rehearsal. It’s two hours away from homework, tests, and other stresses of life. This show has been different from the other shows I’ve been in especially during E.M. break. We have cleaned, blocked, and choreographed numerous scenes. All that sounds really boring, and sometimes it is, but we have also played games, had dance parties, and have gotten to know each other. So far, this experience has been one I will never forget. My advice to the future freshman is to be confident and team up as much as you can. There’s so much to soak up in an award-winning program like this. Overall, I think I speak for all freshmen in the show when I say that I am so happy I have had the opportunity to experience such a great program.
– Laura Jensen