Musical 'Newsies' to make headline-grabbing debut at Detroit Lakes Middle School on Nov. 4
The curtain rises on Detroit Lakes High School's fall musical, "Newsies," on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m, with additional evening performances set for Nov. 6, 12 and 13 as well as a Sunday matinee on Nov. 7.
With a cast of 50-odd student actors and actresses, plus another 30-plus backstage crew, the debut of Detroit Lakes High School's annual fall musical on Thursday, Nov. 4 is shaping up to make headlines, of a sort: Yes, this year's production is the Disney movie and Broadway stage favorite, "Newsies."
Five performances of the show are scheduled for early November, including four evening shows as well as a Sunday matinee (see below for details).
Though it is a musical, this show is based on a real-life event: The New York City newsboys' strike of 1899. Because of the preponderance of young, male roles in "Newsies," artistic director Kathy Larson and assistant director Mark Everson thought the timing was right for this fall.
"When we were casting last year's show ('Songs for a New World,' which was held last spring instead of in the fall due to COVID-19 restrictions), we had no idea we would have all this amazing, young male talent show up to audition," Larson said.
"That's what started the conversation," said Everson, adding that "Newsies" was a show that both he and Larson had wanted to do "for a long time."
"The music is incredible," he said. "It's a Disney show, so the whole family can come — and it's really inspirational."
"The great Alan Menken wrote all this fabulous music," Larson agreed. "There's just not a bad song in the entire show ... which is rare."
"It's an intense show," Everson said. "It puts the pedal down from the first scene and never lets up."
"Newsies" is also a show that requires a deep well of talent, Larson added: "We had to have the right mix to do it."
"It's deep in talent, light in pitch," joked Ethan Hendrickson, who plays Crutchie — a reference to the preponderance of tenor vocals required for many of the songs.
Hendrickson is one of the stars of the show, alongside Kameron Wilkins (Jack Kelly) and Noah Hendrickson (Joseph Pulitzer), to name a few. Pulitzer is just one of several real-life historical figures that are part of "Newsies," Everson noted, adding, "Theodore Roosevelt shows up too."
Ethan's parents, J.D. and Nerissa Hendrickson, are also the principal set designers and carpenters for the show, and J.D. is serving as sound technician as well. In fact, this year's show involves the entire Hendrickson family.
"All three of our boys are doing it (the fall musical) together, for the first time — and the last," said Nerissa, noting that Ethan is a senior this year.
Nerissa and J.D. Hendrickson explained that they based their set design on an 1890s New York City fire escape; the backdrop is a series of panels embossed with newsprint.
"They're real newspapers from 1899," Everson added, noting that they'd procured the images from the National Archives.
Nerissa Hendrickson noted that Larson has been a stickler for the details when it comes to the show's design, from sets to costumes and everything in between — "which is great," she said, "because it just makes everyone work that much harder."
"It takes a very special person to bring the best out of such a large group of people — us included," added J.D. Hendrickson.
Though Larson is definitely the principal architect of this year's show, she is also quick to point out that she couldn't do it all without help — and this year, she has drawn some of that behind-the-scenes talent not just from the usual group of parent volunteers, but also from her cast.
"We have a student director for the first time this year, as well as a choreographer who is a student," Larson said, referring to Annie Houglum and Malia McKenzie, respectively.
In addition to their choreographic and directorial duties, the two young women also play major roles in the production, as Katharine Plumber and Medda Larkin, respectively. Katharine is the love interest for Wilkins' Jack Kelly, while Medda is one of Jack's closest friends.
"I'm just super excited," said McKenzie. "It's our first fall musical coming off COVID, and it's really nice to see things getting back to some form of 'normal' again."
Wilkins, who plays Jack Kelly, put in a plug for McKenzie's efforts, noting that she was a "phenomenal" choreographer. "This show wouldn't be what it is without her," he said.
Houglum agreed with Larson and Everson's assessment about the score of "Newsies," noting, "There is no song in this show you can go wrong with — it's phenomenal music."
She added that she was thrilled "to see it all come together — not just for the actors, but for the set builders, the backstage crew and everybody."
If you go
What: Detroit Lakes High School Presents "Newsies"
Where: George Simson Auditorium, Detroit Lakes Middle School
When: Nov. 4, 6, 12 and 13, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 7, 3 p.m.
How: All tickets are $10 and reserved seats are on sale in advance at the courtesy counter of Detroit Lakes' Central Market . Tickets will also be sold at the door starting approximately one hour in advance of each show.
Extra! 'Newsies' Cast, Artistic Staff & Crew
Jack Kelly: Kameron Wilkins
Crutchie: Ethan Hendrickson
Race: Neil Trowbridge
Specs: Jude Houglum
Henry: Abram Steinke
Finch: Hadlee Justesen
Elmer: Siri Vagle
Romeo: Micah Barberg
Jo Jo: Anika Erickson
Mush: Chase Housholder
Buttons: Gavin Krause-Opitz
Tommy Boy: Austin Holt
Katherine Plumber: Malia McKenzie
Darcy: Gannon Braun
Nuns: Emma Mitchell, Jenna Allen, Noelle Trowbridge, Siri Vagle
Oscar Delancey: Jeffery Moen
Morris Delancey: Nate Cihak
Wiesel: Nate Lembke
Davey: Matthew Morrison
Les: Lucas Lundberg
Joseph Pulitzer: Noah Hendrickson
Seitz: Trysten Schwarzrock
Bunsen: Andrew Nunn
Hannah: Hannah Barberg
Snyder: Travis Smith
Medda Larkin: Annie Houglum
Bowery Beauties: Molly Brooks, Hadlee Justesen, Jaden Mercil, Siri Vagle
Mrs. Jacobi: Rachael Wagoner
Scabs: Gannon Braun, Marv Mai, Jaden Mercil
Police Officer: Victor Jimenez
Mayor: Nate Cihak
Spot Conlon: Aiden Holt
Bill: Marv Mai
Governor Teddy Roosevelt: Erick Ziegler
Primary Dancers: Lily Anderson, Zoe Cariveau, Maddie Kukoski
Featured Dancers: Molly Brooks, Addie Clark, Anika Erickson, Izzy Hansen, Hadlee Justesen, Jaden Mercil, Andrew Nunn, Siri Vagle, Anna Yost
Newsies: Brooklynn Anderson, Vayda Flint, Onika Greer, Benjamin Hansen, Eli Hendrickson, Lucian Hesebeck, Brooklyn Johnson, Khloe Jorgenson, Sophia Karlgaard, Tristan Kiser, Madison Mendl, Cole Rotter, Aaliyah Thompson, Charlotte Trowbridge, Derek Wagoner, Tristan Wahl
Director/Producer/Vocal Director: Kathryn Larson
Assistant Director/Light Design Technician/Video Design: Mark Everson
Sound Design Technician: JD Hendrickson
Choreographer: Malia McKenzie, Class of 2022
Student Director: Annie Houglum, Class of 2023
Rehearsal Accompanist: Paul Heisler
Set Designers: Richard Hennings, JD Hendrickson & Nerissa Hendrickson
Master Carpenters: Richard Hennings, JD Hendrickson, Nerissa Hendrickson & Tom Trowbridge
Scenic Artist/Prop Mistress: Nerissa Hendrickson
Costume Design: Alley Cook
Production Assistant: Chelsea Larson
Printing Press Design & Construction: Mike Nustad
Sound Technician: Aiden Wass, Class of 2022
Stage Manager: Gannon Braun
Backstage Assistant Manager: Lawson Greene
Backstage Crew: Addison Lowell, Marv Mai, Evan Thomas & Erick Ziegler
Spotlight Operators: Linnea Aelony & Kaitlin Hanson
Carpenters: Brenda Houglum, April Thomas, Ryan Hansen, Kate Hansen,Dan Jorgenson & the DLHS Building Trades Classes
Costume Team: Esther Bromander, Lori Foltz, Zada Foltz, Katelyn Haarstick, Lona Justesen, Trista Koppes, Jean Livingood, Nancy McKenzie & Madalyn Sukke
Scenic Painting: Mary Rotter, Kathy Michaelson & Rick Michaelson
Properties Assistant: Carol Nustad
Makeup Artists: Annie Houglum & Jaycee Haverkamp