Extra, extra: Newsies wows Thayer audiences

Thayer Academy’s theater program reclaimed its rightful place center stage in the CFA’s Hale Theater with Disney’s Newsies, a raucous musical showcasing the acting, singing, and dancing talents of its large ensemble cast. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent need for physical distancing forced the Academy’s theater program to get even more creative in recent months, from reimagining Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as a radio drama in the spring of 2020 to constructing an outdoor stage to perform Rocky Horror Show Live in the spring of 2021. Newsies (Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Jack Feldman; Book by Harvey Fierstein) was initially put on hold because of the pandemic but proved well worth the wait. 

“The pandemic delayed our production of Newsies by a year, but the right moment and the perfect cast finally found each other,” wrote Upper School Director of Theater Arts Kelly Hines P ‘18, ‘19 in her director’s note thanking cast, crew, families, and all those involved in the production, which ran nightly Nov. 18-20 with a Sunday matinee Nov. 21. 

Telling the story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City, Newsies included wonderful performances from Gavin Pevarnek ‘22 and Isabella Rivera ‘23, who played the lead roles of Jack Kelly and Katherine Plummer, respectively. Other strong performances in key roles included Leo Eschauzier ‘23 as Crutchie, Ashley Johnson ‘24 as Les, and Summer Perry ‘24 as Medda Larkin. 

But excellence was the rule and not the exception, from a scaffold-like set evoking the mean streets of New York City to a live band to a number of vibrant dance numbers, many of which incorporated tap dancing. Some standout songs from the musical included “That’s Rich,” “Watch What Happens,” “King of New York,” and “Brooklyn’s Here.” 

Hines also thanked the audience members themselves for donning masks throughout the show so that the students could “perform fearlessly” each night. 

Thayer Academy Fall Musical 2021 Newsies 1

Jack Kelly (Gavin Pevarnek ‘22) listens to a little good advice from journalist Katherine Plummer (Isabella Rivera ‘23). 

Thayer Academy Fall 2021 Musical Newsies 2

Medda Larkin (Summer Perry ‘24) brings the house down with her rendition of “That’s Rich.” 

Thayer Academy Fall 2021 Musical Newsies 3

Governor Theodore Roosevelt (Upper School History Faculty Larry Carlson P ‘02, ‘05, ‘10) offers some encouragement to Jack Kelly (Gavin Pevarnek ‘22). 

Thayer Academy Fall 2021 Musical Newsies 4

Student performers put on their dancing shoes for a number from Newsies


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