Backstage with Disney’s NEWSIES

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If there ever was a time to ‘seize the day,’ now is absolutely the time. Disney’s NEWSIES is playing an exclusive two-week premiere engagement at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with performances May 17 through May 29, 2016 in Segerstrom Hall.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.

We were delighted to get a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to get NEWSIES on the stage, as well as an exclusive visit with principal cast members, Joey Barreiro as ‘Jack Kelly,’ and Morgan Keene as ‘Katherine.’

We were excited to see all the exquisite attention given to even the smallest details that end up on the stage, from “grunging up” the NEWSIES’ 150 costumes by Wardrobe Supervisor, Gillian Austin to the presence of an actual antique 1200 lb. Chandler & Price printing press used in the show.

Production Stage Manager, Jeff Norman gave us a close up look at the fantastic set designed by Tobin Ost. The imposing three level set rises over 24 feet high and features three completely automated towers. Built of steel and aluminum, it weighs seven and a half tons. Its three towers can move 14 feet up and down stage, revolve 350 degrees and re-configure to create – among the show’s many locations – tenement fire escapes, a theatre’s backstage and the Brooklyn Bridge. The cast climbs 75 steps to reach the set’s nine distinct playing areas.

It was such a treat to see all the moving parts that come together so beautifully to bring this amazing show to life. The only thing missing from our backstage tour was the imaginative and unbelievable choreography that makes this show an absolute must-see.