By Megan Mullen
The Ryerson Musical Theatre Company’s (RMTC) production of Disney’s Newsies had their opening night at the Al Green Theatre on March 13.
The production, directed by Isabella Verrilli, opens with Jack and Crutchie awaking for another day of work as newsies.
“Them streets down there, they sucked the life right outta my old man. Well they ain’t doin’ that to me,” says Jack Kelly (Mark McKelvie) to his friend Crutchie (Colin Darling) of his dream to one day leave New York City for Santa Fe, as a single light illuminates the two boys waking up on a fire escape.
McKelvie stuns the audience as the orphaned newsboy who, alongside his fellow newsies, leads a strike when their boss, Joseph Pulitzer (Daniel Goldman), raises the price of newspapers.
Newsies is the product of months of hard work by over 100 Ryerson students who make up the RMTC. This year’s production is the company’s fourth student-led musical production since their founding in 2014.
The musical, based on the 1992 film of the same name, was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City.
“Newsies is all about a group of kids coming together to reach toward a common goal,” said RMTC’s president, Tara Snider, “that lies very close to the heart of RMTC because that is what we strive for each year.”
Ian Kowalski and Natalie Doherty shine as the new-newsies on the block, brothers Davey and Les Jacobs.
Jack soon notices Davey’s smarts and he becomes the brains behind the newsie strike, while Les stays his adorable, happy-go-lucky sidekick.
Another standout performance comes from Katherine Plumber (Olivia DeRoche), a young reporter who takes notice in the boys’ strike and cover the protest to further her career.
While writing her first story on the newsies, Plumber breaks out into Watch What Happens, one of the most impressive vocal performances in the entire production.
Choreographed by Zoe Choptain, the entire cast taps, spins, and jeté-s their way into the hearts of the audience.
In a press release, RMTC said they aim to give Ryerson students in all programs the opportunity to take part in a musical production each year and to connect students who have a shared passion for theatre.
“Not only do we want to put on an amazing show,” Snider says, “but we want to create a positive space for people who love musical theatre.”
Newsies runs until March 16 at the Al Green Theatre. Tickets are $12 for Ryerson students and $15 for the public.
Set & Costume Design: Carlyn Routledge
Lighting Design: Mathilda Kane