Watch what happens: Muscatine High School ‘Newsies’ to open

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–This April, students at Muscatine High School hope headlines about their upcoming spring musical, “Newsies” will entice the community to come see the show. The largest musical production at Muscatine High School in many years, their rendition of this popular show will appeal to audience members of all ages.

A piece of historical fiction, “Newsies” chronicles the lives of a group of children growing up together on the streets of New York City making a meager living by selling newspapers. In 1899, when publishers raise the price the newsies must buy the papers they sell at, the band of friends works to create a union to fight back. Amidst the turmoil, “Newsies” also explores the friendships between the newsies and between their leader, Jack, and young news reporter Catherine Plummer.

A show many students grew up with, as a popular movie version came out in 1992, Drama Advisor Rene Mauck had always toyed with the idea of performing it but ultimately never selected it because of the number of actors it required as well as the number of strong male singing parts it had. However, with a burgeoning number of students getting involved with theatre, many of them boys, she felt the time had come to give it a go. “It’s been challenging but really fun to do a big classic show again,” she shared. “The kids have been great for such a large cast, and they’ve worked really hard.”

The student actors have just as much enthusiasm for the show as Mauck does. Katharina Scholze, a senior playing Plummer, has found acting in the show a joy. “I’ve watched this show since 2014 and I’ve worked my butt off to get this role,” she said. “It’s like watching my little dreams come true.”

For Spencer Kilburn, a senior playing Crutchie in his theatre debut, he has had fun experiencing the process of putting a show on for the very first time. He explained, “this was also my first year of choir, and I’ve grown so many friends in choir and they encouraged me to do it.”

Though he did not take their suggestions seriously at first, after watching “Newsies” in his choir class, he fell in love with the character of Crutchie and knew he wanted to play him. From auditioning, to getting the role, to learning his lines and how to best portray his character, Spencer has liked every part of working on this production. “I get so much positive reinforcement from the whole experience,” he beamed.

Muscatine High School will perform “Newsies” in their auditorium at 2705 Cedar Street, Muscatine April 21 through 23 with performances at 7 p.m. each day and an additional matinee performance April 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $8 when purchased online, and patrons may buy them that way up to 15 minutes before the show starts. Attendees may buy tickets at the door as well for $10 apiece. The high school will not offer any livestreaming of this performance.

Whether you love history, good music, or just a chance to see local students perform, Mauck and the cast of “Newsies” invite you to come out and see their press stopping performance.

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