Showing off the theatrical, dance and musical talents of nearly 100 students, Maricopa High School Theatre Company won in its opening-night performance of “Newsies.”
The cast and crew were joined by a dance troupe from the school’s Performing Company as well as MHS orchestra members in a robust production that continues Friday and Saturday. The addition of full-length dance numbers that involved most of the cast was particularly invigorating in its choreography by junior Taya Johnson and its execution.
With songs by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein, MHS Theatre Company is tackling a Broadway hit inspired by real-life events in 1899 New York. The show demands high energy, and the performers deliver.
Emma Schrader as the central character Jack doesn’t have to carry the entire production, being surrounded by so many gifted performers, but she could. While she has to act, sing and dance, she must cross genders and affect the New York accent of a street tough, all at the same time. She has to pull that off for the show to work, and she definitely does.
As the softer-spoken Davey, Joey Russoniello has some occasion to expose his superior singing voice, as does Haley Raffaele, who plays the spunky reporter Katherine and does a fine job manufacturing chemistry with Schrader. Speaking of vocals, Lindsey Coms has a great solo as Medda Larkin.
Derek Blakely is a weasely Joseph Pulitzer, the bad guy of the piece, who isn’t seen much but leaves an impression. The company’s many reliable character actors like Julie Goodrum, Jae Luna and Princess Jimenez bring a lot of life and color to the production.
Riley Bell and the dance crew shine every time they are on stage, and what’s more remarkable is the level of dance performance by the actors to allow them to meld seamlessly as one performing unit.
A tip of the hat to music conductor Ivan Pour and the MHS orchestra keeping it real under the stage.
Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday as well.