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New York City of 1899 comes alive in 'Newsies'
Gainesville High production of musical commemorates famous newspaper boy strike
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The Gainesville High School Theatre cast rehearse the musical "Newsies" Monday, Sept. 24, at the Pam Ware Performing Arts Center. The musical is based on the Newsboy Strike of 1899 in New York City. - photo by Scott Rogers
What: Musical by Gainesville High School
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 2-4
Where: Gainesville High School, Pam Ware Performing Arts Center, 830 Century Place, Gainesville
How much: $5-10

More info:

Think you know your Disney trivia? Take our 'Newsies' quiz and get a chance to win some tickets to the musical opening next month.

Disney fans will get the chance to go back in time with the Gainesville High School Theatre Department’s musical production of “Newsies.”

The musical tells the story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899, which happened as a response to increased prices of the paper. Young children who bought and then sold newspapers to make a profit — the newsboys — decided to protest.

“It is based on a real historical event,” said Pam Ware, director of theater at Gainesville High School. “It is a period piece as we say.”

Performances are scheduled for 7:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 2-4 at the Pam Ware Performing Arts Center in Gainesville.

Ware said Disney just released the rights for high schools to produce “Newsies” this year, so the upcoming musical at GHS will be one of the first times it's performed in the local area.
“We selected the play not knowing whether we would get it or not,” she said. “This is brand new. We were fortunate enough to get the rights to produce it because we do have to apply early and then we have to wait to see whether Disney will let us do this.”

She chose the musical to challenge her students.

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The Gainesville High School Theatre cast of "Newsies" rehearse the musical Monday, Sept. 24, at the Pam Ware Performing Arts Center. The musical is based on the 1899 strike of newspaper boys in New York City, which became known as the Newsboy Strike. - photo by Scott Rogers

“I would like for at least half of our season to have titles that are recognizable,” Ware said, “whether they are brand new such as ‘Newsies’ or whether they’ve been around a long time and we just have not done them.”

Delaney Benson, a senior at Gainesville High School, expects the show to be a hit.

“Being a senior, I was given the opportunity … to choreograph two numbers,” she said. “It's a fun production, and I think everyone’s having fun with it. Everyone’s really excited, and I think we’re going to get a great crowd.”

She said the cast has been preparing for the play since the beginning of the school year, from talking through the characters’ backstories with one another to discussing the challenges of the script.

“We sang through the music so that everybody could get familiar with it, and then we read through the entire script so everybody would understand why there was that strike in 1899,” she said.

The cast will consist of 35 on-stage performers, including some teachers who wanted to get in on the action through “little cameo roles,” Ware said.

As for the students, she said they’ve enjoyed preparing for the show.

“They enjoy their work because they wouldn’t put in the hours that are required if they didn’t,” she said.

Ware said people of all ages should come to the production.

“Number one, it’s exciting. Number two, it’s based on a historical fact. Number three, it’s Disney,” she said. “I would say probably two-thirds if not three-fourths of our audience will have seen the Disney movie ‘Newsies.’ They may not know all the history behind it, but the history does come alive in this production.”

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The Gainesville High School Theatre cast rehearse "Newsies" Monday, Sept. 24, at the Pam Ware Performing Arts Center. The musical opens Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Gainesville High. - photo by Scott Rogers
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