A musical theater camp is in its final week for some Great Falls students, culminating over the weekend with a newsworthy performance.
More than 40 kids between the ages of five and 18 have been rehearsing for the performance of Disney’s "Newsies Jr."
It’s based on a true story of New York City newsies in 1899.
“What they did is they bought newspapers from newspaper companies, and they went out on the streets, and they sold them,” said Hunter Griffin, who plays Jack Kelly in the production. “Midway through, the prices are jacked from 50 cents to 60 cents, and it lowers everyone’s income, so they go on strike to try and get the prices returned back to normal.”
A recent Great Falls High School graduate who will attend MSU in the fall, Griffin’s character is the lead in the play.
“He’s a very charismatic guy, he’s very loving and caring of his fellow newsies and he wishes the best for all of them,” said Griffin.
Griffin says working with younger kids has been challenging but rewarding.
Ten-year old Ally Chabot plays Muriel, another newsy, and said, “I’m kind of tough but also sweet and soft at times, like most of the Newsies. I can really relate to this character.”
Chabot loves to dance, but wanted to expand her acting and singing skills.
Under the direction of Carl Donovan and choreographer Shannon Hudson, the camp goes beyond music and dance. Students spent the first week memorizing lines. They also learned that some of the challenges like budgeting and labor issues faced by newsies almost 125 years ago resonate today.
“It’s a story that is just so relatable,” said Chabot.
Newsie Jr. is a powerful story with a musical message that won’t leave audience members disappointed.
“There are amazing performances from everyone in the show,” said Griffin. “They can expect amazing musical numbers and dancing spectacles. It’s pretty amazing.”
The show is about 60-minutes long and a somewhat abbreviated version of Disney’s “Newsies” which featured actor Christian Bale as the lead. The shortened length is to accommodate for the attention span of the younger cast members.
There will be two performances of “Newsies JR.” Both take place at the Davidson Family Auditorium at Great Falls High School.
Friday night the kids perform at 7 p.m. and there's a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m. For reservations and ticket information, click here.
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