Every year, Ms. Nicole Roberge (Creative director of Rivers Edge Theatre) and her Musical Theatre class produce a Musical. Awesome performances, such as ‘Rent’ in 2018 and ‘Rock of Ages’ in 2017, have entertained the Riverside Community. Coming up with which musical to do, however, is sometimes difficult.
“This year, for the first time we got the students to help pick our musical, I put the word out in late May for a selection committee. I had four different shows in mind and after getting 17 students to research the pros and cons of each, the students vote was ‘Newsies,’” said Roberge. “I’m very glad they chose it because I was looking for a great ensemble piece, with lots of dancing and movement, and ‘Newsies’ is perfect!”
Roberge and Ms. Glenda Ottens (Riverside’s music teacher and Roberge’s teaching partner)are working very hard to make the musical a shining success. With Roberge taking a leave of absence (January to late June) to renew her artistic output, Ottens and a teacher-on-call will take on the large responsibilities of opening ‘Newsies’ at River’s Edge Theatre in late February. Roberge says she is very excited to build ‘Newsies’ alongside Ottens until the second semester starts. “I’m very impressed with the cast so far because they are very strong and committed, which will make one of the toughest challenges I’m currently facing, my leave of absence, easier. However, I will have everything completed, including choreography, costumes, design and building in order for the cast to put on the best show possible,” said Roberge.
‘Newsies’ is made up of two diverse casts with only a few actors double cast. All the leads are performed by grade 12’s. Jack Kelly, a struggling newspaper hawker in New York City will be played by Javid Nouripour and Logan Willis, Kirsten Clark, and Brielle Chan will share the role of Katherine Plumber, an interning journalist looking for her big break. As for the role of Crutchie, a dedicated newsie with a ‘bum leg,’ it will be shared by Jeffrey Luong and Sloane Schultz. “Casting is one of the hardest parts of our job because not everyone can be happy. Ms. Ottens and I cast based on skill level, commitment level, experience, look, grade level, and much more,” said Roberge. “We are not casting based on if we ‘like them’ or not; we love and care for all of our students equally.”
All of the ‘Newsies’ cast and crew are working very hard and are thrilled to be bringing this musical about the ‘triumph of the little guy’ to the stage February 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, and March 1 for the final show.