We are back for week #2 of Newsies interviews!
Newsies has a very unique cast for a musical. The ensemble could, in many ways, be considered the star of the show and the ensemble of Newsies speaks to individuality as well as to community. To help our audience members get to know each of the members of this fantastic group just a little bit better, we have 4 introductory blogs on our Newsies for you! Today is #2 and our handful of Newsies include Shaw Shurley, Joel Dupont, Maggie Reidy, Jack Sterner, and Sterling Street.
Q #1: “Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into theatre.”
Shaw: “My dad started me in theatre. He’d always been doing theatre around town and I would go and see his shows. Then the summer before kindergarten I started doing theatre summer camps which really got me into it. After that I started auditioning for show after show and getting in and just really liked it. This is my 9th show overall!”
Joel: “I just kind of fell into it. I grew up watching old musicals, seeing Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra. In undergrad I was originally a health and fitness major but I really loved being in choir so I switched to music education, then to vocal performance. It was a bit more of a classical training that I received but musicals have always been my favorite. So, I just started auditioning for things and this is actually the third show that I have ever been a part of.
Maggie: “Community theatre is something our family has done since as long as I can remember, just as a way to be involved with our community and hang out with each other. We’ve done theatre at all sorts of places, and I have a very traumatizing story about a rabbit costume from my youth you can ask me about.”
Jack: “I started doing theatre when I was 8 or 9 years old. My whole family got into it together at the same time so I auditioned at a thing called CYT, which stands for Christian Youth Theatre. They have branches all over the place and write all their own productions. That was the first show I got in to. The first show I ever auditioned for was Little Mermaid and although I didn’t get cast I sang “Seize The Day” in my audition. I was very shy and stared at my feet the whole time. The Broadway musical actually hadn’t come out yet so I was singing what I could gather from the film. Soon all my siblings had joined in and we were all doing shows. My mom starting directing and my aunt became the choreographer. I then joined Artios and just recently graduated from Bob Jones with my degree in theatre.
Sterling: “I always loved telling stories and I used to put on little plays before I even knew what shows were. My family had a barstool and I would get up and do a 30 second play and make everyone clap for me. So I just loved stories and wasn’t really sure where I fit, felt like I couldn’t find my community. I found choir after failing Spanish… ooops…and I just loved it. I was introduced to storytelling through music and dance and discovered I wanted to do it all. Dance, direct, act, sing, do it all and then do it forever. So I attended Bob Jones to get my degree.”
Q #2: “What is your favorite past performance credit?”
Shaw: “I’m not sure. There are a lot of shows I have done that have been really fun- but I think if I had to choose one I would choose Ragtime. It wasn’t too big of a part so I didn’t have to memorize a lot of lines and I got to be in all these big ensemble numbers. The cast was great and I had some of my closest friends in it too, which was fun.”
Joel: “Definitely Quassimodo from Hunchback of Notre Dome. The character depth really let me dig into acting, which I don’t feel like I have a lot of experience in. Its physicality really forced me to become the character. You had to have the posture and the voice in addition to nailing really hard music and running a show for 3 weeks.”
Maggie: “I honestly don’t know. I think this [Newsies] might be my favorite show because I just feel so challenged with the dancing and I love the camaraderie that a lot of us are building. But, my favorite show that I’ve ever experienced was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat here at GT. But to pick one I was a part of, I would say Flat Stanley at the South Carolina Children's Theatre because I got to play a mail lady. My shorts and socks were not flattering but I loved the cast that I worked with and it was just a lot of fun.”
Jack: “Probably King Lear which I did as part of my capstone project this past year. I played Edgar/Poor Tom. I have really always loved Shakespeare, I actually kind of geek out about it. I have taken a lot of Shakespeare courses and have been a part of multiple Shakespeare productions. But King Lear was really wonderful for me because the role really pushed me. Between playing Edgar and Poor Tom, the character has such a cool character arc throughout the show.
Sterling: “I would say George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. I connected so much with his story and his need to feel valuable and important. I also think that’s also exactly what the newsies feel in this show. The need to connect with other people in your life and know that you are wanted and make a difference.”
Q #3: “Who do you play in Newsies and tell me about your role and this show?
Shaw: “I play Les. I saw Newsies when it came to the Peace Center years ago and as soon as I exited the building I knew that that was my favorite show I had ever seen. I had always thought it would be super cool to be in Newsies, so my favorite part about the show is that it is the show Newsies. It’s the show that I’ve always wanted to be in because it interesting to see all these boys coming up on top of all these older people who are richer and more powerful in society. I’m also really happy with my part in this show but I’d like to do it again when I’m older and play Davey. I think people should come see it because it's a really meaningful and powerful show. We see these poor kids beating these rich adults and it’s so interesting to see that this was our past and this is how we were, and if we know that and think it wasn’t a really good way to be, then we can take that and grow. We can come up with a new plan and system so that we don’t end up back to where we were.”
Joel: “I play Crutchie and he’s Jack’s right hand man and - fun fact - he was a real person who was actually there at the strike in 1899. He definitely really pushes Jack’s character forward toward his character’s arc. And in regards to the show, even though it is a predominately dance heavy show, it’s got such a different sound to it with such a strong newsies chorus that is hard to achieve at this level with this type of show.”
Maggie: “I play Dice and I am enjoying the camaraderie built among the cast members. We work as a team and I think that is really going to help the show. I think the story will be told better because of it. I also named myself because I decided my character supplements his newsboy income with gambling. I think the show itself is entertaining and enjoyable and has such a wonderful message. This production also has so many local artists putting so much heart and time into this production that that makes is that much more impactful and a joy to watch.
Jack: “I play Davey and would say one of the most challenging things about this show is that to some degree everyone has to be a triple threat to be a part of this production. You don’t escape this show without sweating. I think it’s also really cool that the theme isn’t as obvious as many think. An undercurrent in the show shown through the choreography and the story is unity. This group of people coming together to find unity with one another is something we should be striving for today. Everyone is just fighting with everyone about everything right now and we seem to have a need to elevate and isolate ourselves. I think people needed to be reminded that it’s a lot cooler to be a part of something than just lonely by yourself.”
Sterling: “I play Albert in the show and I think this is the best choreography I have ever seen Kimberlee do. Both her and Michelle are absolutely killing it. I also love the music. I think that it is so strong and beautiful and just swells when you hear it. In our current day, equality is just a hot word right now, but I think more than equality people just want to know that they are valued and loved and that’s exactly what my character wants. He wants to know he is valued at his job, even though it’s something as simple as selling papers.”
We open this Friday and tickets are selling fast, fast, fast so hurry and click here or call our box office at 864-233-6238! Now is the time to seize the day!