A few months ago, I was lucky enough to go see Hale Center Theater perform the iconic Disney musical, Newsies; A few nights ago, I took the opportunity to see Davis High School perform Newsies. The only noticeable difference: Davis High students are younger and I knew a bunch of them.
I must admit, I was a little worried about getting assigned to review the show. I’m a harsh critic (just ask anyone who has ever seen a movie with me), and I was afraid I might hurt the feelings of one of my dear friends. I mean, I was going to a High School production of one of the most beloved musicals of all time. How would they ever live up to the expectations?
It turned out my skepticism was unfounded; I was blown away by the set, music, acting, dancing… there were so few noticeable flaws in the performance that I have more complaints about the script written by professionals than I do with the production.
Before the curtains even opened, as I was looking through the playbill, I noticed a note about the set from Mr. Wright, the director of the musical. The note described the process of making the set and the choice to use recycled steel rather than wood. They welded the set themselves. Needless to say, I was already impressed, and I hadn’t even seen anything yet.
I had the chance to interview Mr. Wright for an article I wrote a while back and there was something that he said that kind of stuck with me while I was watching the show:
“There are about fifteen other schools doing Newsies in the state of Utah this year. There’s no doubt we will have the best cast.”
At the time he said this, I kind of shrugged this off as some sort of self-serving bias. Having now seen it, I realize he was not kidding in the slightest.
Dekklan Mackay nailed is portrayal of Jack Kelly. He was charismatic and likeable, setting himself as the lead right off the bat. When I heard that Dekklan would be Davis High’s Jack, I knew he would be perfect, and he didn’t disappoint.
Hyrum Frank did such an excellent job limping around as Crutchy that I’m quite convinced he put a tack in his shoe to keep himself from putting any weight on his “bad leg”.
My favorite song in the musical is Watch What Happens, because it impeccably describes what it’s like to be a journalist. Anna Peacock brilliantly exemplified the manic, racing thoughts of a reporter with a hot story, all the while singing beautifully.
There were so many amazing things about this musical: Nash Krutsch flipping around the stage, Riley Allen jumping onto the back of Trey Peterson, the tap dancing in King of New York, the fight scenes, etc. It truly was a spectacular performance.
Oh, and did I mention that this was their “rough night”? According to cast members, there were all sorts of small hiccups here and there, yet the audience had no clue.
If their worst is as good as Hale Center Theatre, their best must be something pretty unbelievable. I’m incredibly excited to see them again on Friday.
If you haven’t already, get tickets to see the hard work, passion, and talent of the cast of Davis High’s production of Newsies. You can purchase tickets at http://davisdarts.org.