"This was probably one of the biggest musicals we've done in the Middle School,” said Jason Kruger, LS & MS Theater Director. This year’s spring musical had a massive cast of 40 Middle Schoolers, 12 Upper Schoolers and eight faculty, including Head of School Sean Murphy, Head of Middle School Alice Nezzer and Head of Lower School Kama Bruce. “We couldn't have done this show without the strong class of eighth-grade performers like Oliver Mann ‘23, Kate Tully ‘23, Mark Greenberg ‘23, Anthony Tassone ‘23 and Jacob Burrows ‘23, just to name a few!”
The size of the cast was only part of the challenge. Jason noted, “Technically, it was also a huge undertaking in that it was probably the largest Middle School set I've ever designed and built. The three 16-feet-tall, three-story platforms all moved 360 degrees and took several weeks to build and paint. I definitely spent many hours trying to make the set feel like a visual character in the grand spectacle of the show. I'm really proud of what we were able to accomplish."
Based on the true story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899, the Disney musical centers on Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist away from the big city. After Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices, Kelly and his fellow Newsies take action.
Anyone who has seen the 1992 movie or the Tony-winning 2012 Broadway production knows it’s a physically and vocally demanding show. Though previous Middle School musicals like Mary Poppins and Bring It On have challenged his students, Jason said, “‘Newsies’ was a show that really felt like 14 years in the making. What I mean is that in my 14 years, we've continued to grow as a program and what we've been able to do on stage. Some shows are more challenging vocally, some require more choreography and some require more mature acting performances. In order for ‘Newsies’ to be successful, the acting, singing and dancing all needed to be of a high caliber. I think this is something that we've been building towards. In other words, we may not have been able to do ‘Newsies’ a few years ago.”
If you missed your chance to see our students perform, check out our “Newsies” photo gallery courtesy of parent volunteer photographer Peggy Keelan. You can also see clips on our Instagram.
Debating whether to rent the movie or catch the next production on tour? Jason says, “Personally, I think the Broadway show is much better than the movie, but don't tell my wife! It's her favorite.”
Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.