Skylight Music Theatre Announces Creative Team, Cast and One Day Sale for Holiday 2019 Production of Disney’s Newsies Broadway Musical

Milwaukee, Wis. (July 8, 2019) — Skylight Music Theatre today announced members of the creative team and cast for Skylight’s holiday show, Disney’s Newsies, running November 15 through December 22, 2019. This family-favorite Broadway musical will be presented in the beautiful Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

 

One Day Ticket Sale Monday, July 15

On Monday, July 15 there will be a one-day sale offering 25% off single adult ‘A’ level tickets to Newsies.Call the Box Office (414) 291-7800 or visit at 158 N. Broadway from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., or online at www.skylightmusictheatre.org from 7 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. Use promo code NYC25.

 

Based on the 1992 Disney motion picture and inspired by a true story, Newsies was a 2012 Broadway hit with a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies has non-stop thrills and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family.

 

Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged newsies who dream of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to fight for what’s right and seize the day.

 

Director Molly Rhode Returns to Skylight

Molly Rhode will direct. Rhode directed Skylight’s record-breaking productions of Annie (2017), Les Misérables (2013), and The Sound of Music (2012).

 

“This story is set at the turn-of-the-century, but it doesn’t feel far away,” said Rhode. “The way these young people stand up and say ‘listen to me!’ is happening right now, all across the globe. It is not a nostalgia piece. Its relevance and inspirational power are pertinent today. Newsies is not only exhilarating and triumphant Broadway musical entertainment, it shares a message of protest and persistence.”

Based on the Newsboy Strike of 1899

Newsies is inspired by the real-life “Newsboy Strike of 1899,” when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsboys on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst, and other powerful newspaper publishers. Newsies addresses age-old themes of social injustice, exploitative labor practices, and David-versus-Goliath struggles as the young learn to harness their power against corruption.

 

Following the film’s 1992 theatrical release with a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan102 Dalmatians) and subsequent DVD releases, Newsies has grown into a cult phenomenon. Originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions in 2012, this production marks the first time for Skylight.

 

Newsies features a live orchestra and cast of 24. Marco Tzunux will make his Skylight Music Theatre debut in the role of Jack Kelly. Tzunux has appeared regularly on Chicago stages, including Porchlight Music Theater, Drury Lane and Paramount Theatre.

 

Among the other principal roles will be Rachael Zientek as Katherine Plumber. Zientek last appeared at Skylight Music Theatre as Hope in Urinetown, the Musical (2018). Also returning to Skylight is Lee Palmer playing Pulitzer, who was previously seen at Skylight in Once on This Island (2015). Making their Skylight debuts are Jordan Arrasmith (Crutchie), Nicholas Parrott (Davey) and Natalie Harris (Medda Larkin). Also making their Skylight debuts are Abram Nelson and Edward Owczarski who will rotate in the role of Les.

 

Music Director for the show is Christie Chiles Twillie, who returns to Skylight after music directing Five Guys Named Moe (2019), which garnered her the Footlights 2019 Award for Best Musical Direction. Rhode is also collaborating with choreographer David Roman, who teaches for the Milwaukee Ballet and was recently seen in Pippin (2018) and In the Heights (2014) at Skylight.

Young Performers from Area Schools Join Cast

Skylight showcased local young performers playing characters their own ages in Hairspray (2018) and Annie (2017). Newsies will continue that tradition with 10 young performers portraying the newsies. Among the schools represented by the young performers are Hamilton High School, Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance, Marquette University High School, Pius XI, St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, University Lake School, Whitefish Bay Middle School, Whitefish Bay High School, and Whitnall High School.

 

The New York Times said Newsies was “A stirring crowd pleaser. Terrific songs – buoyant melodies by Alan Menken and rousing lyrics by Jack Feldman – and a sweet, funny, emotionally satisfying book by Harvey Fierstein. A musical worth singing about! Even for the cynics among us, Newsies has a stirring, old-school sincerity that’s hard to resist.”

 

The Daily News called it “An exhilarating jolt of energy” and Variety described it as “Exuberant! It’s a vigorous David-and Goliath tale rendered with old-school skill.” Entertainment Weekly said “Stop the presses! Newsies is an irresistible, high energy winner!” The show is recommended for ages 8 and up.

 

Disney’s Newsies

The Broadway Musical

First time at Skylight

November 15 – December 22, 2019

Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Jack Feldman, Book by Harvey Fierstein

Based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. Originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions

Recommended for ages 8 and up

Skylight Music Theatre announced the following members of the Newsies creative team:

Stage Director…………………………………………………………………………………………………… Molly Rhode

Music Director……………………………………………………………………………………… Christie Chiles Twillie

Choreographer…………………………………………………………………………… Molly Rhode / David Roman

Costume Designer…………………………………..………………………………………………………………..Jason Orlenko

Lighting Designer………………………………………………………………………………………………….Herrick Goldman

 

Skylight Music Theatre announced the following Newsies principal cast members:

Jack Kelly……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Marco Tzunux

Katherine Plumber……………………………………………………………………………………….. Rachael Zientek

Crutchie…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Jordan Arrasmith

Davey…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Nicholas Parrott

Medda Larkin………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Natalie Harris

Pulitzer…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Lee Palmer*

Les…………………………………………………………………………………….. Abram Nelson/Edward Owczarski

*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

BIOGRAPHIES

 

Molly Rhode (Stage Director) is Associate Artistic Director at Northern Sky Theater in Door County, Wis. where she’s in charge of new play development and has participated in 18 world premieres since 2007. She received her degree in Playwriting and Directing from Southern Methodist University but grew up in Wisconsin. She’s a product of Milwaukee High School of the Arts and First Stage Theater Academy. Rhode is proud to call Skylight Music Theatre one of her artistic homes where she’s directed The Sound of Music, Les Misérables, and Annie. She also performed in many productions in the Cabot Theatre, favorites including Ulla in The Producers and Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She directs and acts all across the state and is a huge cheerleader of the Wisconsin theater community.

 

Christie Chiles Twillie (Music Director) made her Skylight debut as music director for Five Guys Named Moe (2019), winning her the 2019 Footlights Award for Best Musical Direction. Since moving to Chicago, she has piano conducted over 30 productions. Recent projects: piano conductor for the Chicago Premiere of Minnie’s Boys (Porchlight), Music Director for the U.S. premiere of Hopelessly Devoted, (Piven), and Music Director for an all female workshop of The Color Purple (Definition Theatre ) with the show’s original Broadway Director Gary Griffin. In 2017, she earned Best Music Direction nominations for her original score for Yellowman (Fleetwood Jourdain) and Big Fish: The Musical (BigNoise).

 

David Roman (co-choreographer) At Skylight, David has been seen in Pippin (2018) and In The Heights (2014). He has spent the last 18 years sharing his time as a performer for Royal Caribbean International and training the next generation at various locations including the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Lake Shore Dance and the Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy.

 

PRINCIPALS

 

Marco Tzunux (Jack Kelly) is making his Skylight debut. Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he is an alum of the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Regional credits include: Tulsa in Gypsy at Porchlight Music Theater, Wickersham Brother in Seussical at Drury Lane, and TRU at Greenhouse Theater, Altar Boyz at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater, HAIR at Mercury Theater Chicago, Head Over Heels at Kokandy Productions, The Producers at Paramount Theatre, and on TV’s Chicago Fire.

Rachael Zientek (Katherine Plumber) returns to Skylight after playing Hope in Urinetown, The Musical (2018) and being awarded Skylight’s 2018 Lee Dougherty Ross Debut Artist Award. She was recently seen as Althea in Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven at Renaissance Theaterworks and as Medium Alison in Fun Home at Forward Theater. This fall, she will be seen in Unnecessary Farce at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In A Play!” at First Stage Children’s Theater.

 

Jordan Arrasmith (Crutchie) makes his Skylight Music Theatre debut by living out a childhood dream of playing the role of Crutchie. Prior to Newsies at Skylight, he will perform the roles of Buttons/Spot Conlon in Newsies at Timber Lake Playhouse. In Wisconsin he was seen as Ralph Malph in Happy Days: A New Musical at The Palace Theater in The Dells. Other regional credits include Mamma Mia and Ghost at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse.

 

Nicholas Parrott (Davey) will make his Skylight Music Theatre debutOriginally from Gurnee, Ill., he holds a BA in Theatre Arts and Dance from Marquette University. Recent credits include: West Side Story (Hope Summer Repertory Theatre), The Old Man and the Old Moon (HSRT), Shakespeare in Love (HSRT), Twelfth Night (Summit Players Theatre), Little Women (MU) and Anything Goes (MU).

 

Natalie Harris (Medda Larkin) A performer, director and voice/acting teacher, Harris starred in the Lena Baker Story biopic and acted in the movie The Honeydripper, starring Danny Glover. She is a recording artist and songwriter who released her debut album entitled, “We Believe” in 2017. She has shared the stage with many Gospel greats from Tasha Cobbs to Donnie McClurkin.

 

Lee Palmer* (Pulitzer) last seen at Skylight as Tonton in Once on this Island (2015). Other Wisconsin credits: A Murder is Announced and Ghost, The Musical at Peninsula Players; Race, and The Exonerated at Next Act Theatre; To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, and Benito Cereno at Milwaukee Repertory Theater; A Few Good Men and The Millionairess at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Regional credits include Jitney at Congo Square Theatre (Jeff Award nom., Black Excellence Award winner); and Two Trains Running at the Goodman Theatre. TV: Empire, Chicago Fire, Spike Lee’s CHI-RAQ.

 

Abram Nelson (Les) has appeared at First Stage as Stink in Judy Moody and Stink and as Charlie in Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

 

Edward Owczarski (Les) has previously been seen at Milwaukee Rep as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol and as Teddy in Best Christmas Pageant Ever-The Musical with First Stage.

 

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Performances of Newsies are Friday, November 15 through Sunday, December 22 in the Cabot Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee.

 

ONE DAY SALE

Monday, July 15 is a one day sale for 25% off single adult ‘A’ level tickets to Newsies.

  • SPECIAL HOURS! The Box Office will be open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Call (414) 291-7800 or visit 158 N. Broadway.
  • One Day Sale available online at www.skylightmusictheatre.org from 7 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
  • Promo code: NYC25. Offer only valid July 15. Limit 8 tickets. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. All sales FINAL. No exchanges. Other restrictions apply.

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