Extra, extra: Theatre at Latitude 58 to perform newsboy strike musical

‘Newsies’ opens this week

“Newsies” is a new challenge for Theater at Latitude 58.

The musical is based on the Disney movie starring a young Christian Bale of the same name. It involves much more dancing than the theater company’s usual repertoire, said the play’s actors, director and producer. It also includes 45 performers, which is a larger than usual cast.

“I think it’s something special for Juneau — gathering this many people and this many songs,” said Dakota Morgan, who plays Jack Kelly in the show. “Everyone does ‘Newsies’ a little different, and I think our take is special.”

Karen Allen, director of “Newsies,” said the show, which opens Friday at Thunder Mountain High School and runs for one weekend, likely includes the most dancing ever for any Theater at Latitude 58 show.

“It’s an ambitious show for us,” Allen said.

The dance numbers incorporate elements of tap, ballet, musical theater and modern dance.

“It’s been an amazing challenge,” said Abigail Zahasky, who plays Katherine Pulitzer in the play. She noted a lot of the footing in the show is ballet-inspired.

Abigail Zahasky reacts to Dakota Morgan during rehearsals for “Newsies,” Friday, Nov. 15. Theatre at Latitude 58’s latest production runs this weekend. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Abigail Zahasky reacts to Dakota Morgan during rehearsals for “Newsies,” Friday, Nov. 15. Theatre at Latitude 58’s latest production runs this weekend. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Zahasky praised the message of the show, which depicts the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899 through a Disney musical lens. Newsboys, who were mostly orphans and runaways, decided to stop selling newspapers published by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst after the young newsies were forced to pay more for the papers they sold, according to New York Public Library. The 1899 strike then inspired similar strikes throughout the country.

“I think it’s a show that’s a good reminder for our generation,” Zahasky said.

Despite the potentially dour tone of a show centered on orphaned children striking for more equitable working conditions, “Newsies” is an upbeat show, actors said.

“It’s a fun Disney show,” Morgan said.

The show’s cast of characters, which skews young, makes it a good fit for Theater at Latitude 58, said Allen and the show’s producer Heather Mitchell, which works with many young actors.

“It’s been on the mental shortlist for some time,” Mitchell said.

However, Mitchell said the show does include some adult-aged actors.

“We’ve got a 30-something newsboy,” Mitchell said. “But there’s lots of orphans and urchins that are kids.”

Newsboys raise their voices and fists during during rehearsals for “Newsies,” Friday, Nov. 15. Theatre at Latitude 58’s latest production runs this weekend. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Newsboys raise their voices and fists during during rehearsals for “Newsies,” Friday, Nov. 15. Theatre at Latitude 58’s latest production runs this weekend. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Know & Go

What: “Newsies”

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.

Where: Thunder Mountain High School

Admission: Tickets cost $10 for students and senior citizens. General admission costs $20.

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