Newsies offered strong performances throughout four long weekend shows
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by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville Community High School returned to the stage once again over the May long weekend to bring the musical Newsies to the Morinville Community Cultural Centre stage.
The show ran for three nights plus a Saturday afternoon matinee, and despite an anticipated lower-than-normal attendance due to the holiday weekend timing, the show garnered near sold-out audiences on the three evening shows.
Prior to Saturday’s matinee performance, MCHS teacher and show director Vanessa King said she felt Newsies was the school’s best performance yet.
“I loved the Sound of Music, and I love A Christmas Story, but I honestly feel this is our best show ever,” King said. “It’s so strong. There is not a weak link anywhere in the ensemble or in the cast.”
This year’s production had a cast of 32 actors ranging from grade 7 through 12, a crew of 10, as well as two MCHS alumni leaders.
Collectively, they performed an outstanding production of the 2011 Broadway play adapted from the 1992 Disney film of the same name.
As was the case in previous productions, including The Sound of Music, James and the Giant Peach, and A Christmas Story, the set plays a prominent part in the production, transporting late-nineteenth-century New York City to the Morinville Stage.
That mood was greatly enhanced by the lighting work of music director Riley Quinn who captured the feel and shadows of the early morning and late evening scenes, even creating the orange skies of Santa Fe in one of the musical numbers.
Evan Charrois in the lead role of Jack Kelly and Sofiya Chvojka as Katherine Plumber provided exceptional performances in both their acting and vocals and had excellent and building chemistry throughout the production.
Stephanie Belo as Crutchie, Liam Weeks as Davey, and Alana Mathieu as Les were solid in their supporting roles, offering wise counsel and comic relief in equal measure as the story unfolded.
But as King said before the show, Newsies did not have a weak link in the ensemble. Whether it was Avry Thompson as Medda Larkin, William Luger as Joseph Pulitzer, Thomas Lefebvre as Teddy Roosevelt, Elie Tatti as the Mayor of New York City or any of the many Newsies, the cast members, some in multiple roles, simply worked and worked well throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show.
“They have put so much energy into this show that it just never stops,” King said before Saturday’s matinee. “It’s like a train. Once it leaves the station, it just keeps going until the curtain call.”
Below is a photo gallery of shots from Saturday afternoon’s show by Stephen Dafoe