First Year Players presents ‘Newsies’ this week

First Year Players to debut 'Newsies'

The all-freshman cast comes together for 'Newsies,' a show about young people wanting a voice.
Published: April 8, 2019 | Updated: April 9th, 2019 at 11:57 pm
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First Year Players, a student-run drama organization, gives non-drama majors at SU the chance to get involved in student theatre.

Voices echoed through the hallways of Crouse this Saturday as First Year Players rehearsed upcoming play Newsies. The cast ran through number after number, with breaks only for directors notes. Everything is coming into place as the cast wraps up the final weekend of rehearsals. After less than three weeks of rehearsals, the all-freshman cast will be taking the stage this Thursday until Saturday.

Auditions for Newsies took place immediately after students returned to school for the spring semester, and rehearsals started shortly after. However, the process of selecting the show started months before that, in June when the First Year Players executive board selected the first round of options for the musical. 

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When not rehearsing or performing, FYP members also spend time together bonding and participating in dynamic acting activities.

To start, they chose 39 shows, which they narrowed down to 12, then 12 to 6. Every member of the FYP staff, roughly 130 students, then voted on their top choices and the E-board discussed the results to ultimately land on Newsies. The thorough selection process paid off, as CJ Santosuosso, the director of the show and senior FYP member, feels very confident that they picked the perfect show for 2019.

“It’s a show about young people wanting a place at the table, wanting a voice, and in this time that’s super cool,” said Santosuosso.

Newsies The Musical tells a story inspired by the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City, in which newspaper delivery boys take a stands against big business in order to make a change.

Not only does Santosuosso feel confident in the choice of musical, but he also believes the way that they are putting on Newsies will resonate with a 2019 audience. Specifically, Santosuosso is referring to the way they cast what was typically an all-male production.

 

Newsies is known as an all-boy cast, but we’re kind of just throwing gender out the window with it,” Santosuosso explained. “They’re just kids. We’re not really trying to make it like a gender thing. It’s a people thing.”

The decision to cast all people despite their gender was beneficial in creating a current and relevant version of Newsies, as well as getting the most talented cast possible.

“We don’t want certain people, we just want the best performers and people who want a place in this organization. And frankly want to be a part of something special and I think when you watch the kids on stage that will shine through very brightly,” said Santosuosso.

When Santosuosso speaks of something special it is not just the production that he is referring to. The cast, crew, and pit of Newsies are all freshman students. But after freshman year, students have the opportunity to be involved in the organization until graduation in different roles varying from a general member to director. Staff members aim to provide the first years with an experience that will leave them passionate about the organization in general.

It was clear from the palpable sadness in the room when Santosuosso acknowledged that this was the last Saturday morning rehearsal, that that mission was accomplished.

The final week of rehearsals will revolve around taking the show out of the classrooms they have been rehearsing in and rebuilding on the stage of Goldstein Auditorium. By Thursday, months of practice will pay off. The show will run Thursday, April 11th to Saturday, April 13th at 8 pm in Schine Student Centre.

Tickets are available at the Schine box office, and CJ Santosuosso assured it is not a show you want to miss. 

“I promise you, FYP has never done a show like Newsies,” he explained, “and I don’t think Syracuse’s campus community has seen a show like it.”

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Maddie Wasson belts out in song during 'Newsies' rehearsal.
Avatar for Sabrina Brodkin

is a senior with a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology. She is currently a staff producer for The NewsHouse.