by Jody Key — photo credits Beyond the Curb Imaging
The hottest ticket in high school theater is Acting Troupe of Lambert’s NEWSIES, which opened this past weekend at Lambert High School in Suwanee, Ga. Even if you’ve seen the show already this year, this production is top of the heap and not to be missed.
NEWSIES is the Disney Broadway sensation based on the newspaper carriers strike of 1899. This is a show which is heavy on dancing and singing, and ATL delivers a sensational performance that transcends high school caliber theater and immerses the audience in two hours of pure entertainment.
Director and theater teacher Carly Berg along with music director Ryan Wason once again prove why the award-winning Acting Troupe of Lambert is considered one of the best high school programs in the state of Georgia. Berg’s vision as a director takes a show that is wildly popular in the Atlanta area this year and adds her outstanding brand of choreography, blocking, and unique technical execution to take the show to a higher level. Ryan Wason’s musical direction brings out the powerful melodies and the perfect blend of harmonies required for this show.
This entire ensemble is Key-noteworthy each giving their all to the craft. Lambert’s talent is so immense that several of the parts have been double cast, with each cast equally splendid as the other.
Jared Guerrasio as strike leader Jack Kelly is impressive and believable. From his authentic New York accent to his spot-on singing, acting, and dancing ability, this triple-threat delvers an extraordinary performance.
Drew Davison’s portrayal of Davie, the new kid on the paper delivery scene and the brains behind the strike, plays perfectly in his role. His smooth voice wows audiences and blends beautifully with Guerrasio’s on “Seize the Day”.
Both Cooper Ellis and Erin Van Horn deliver impressive performances as Katherine Plumber, the spunky reporter for the New York Sun who dares to take on the story of the Newsies despite opposition from her employer. This is a demanding role both vocally and physically, and both girls prove up to the challenge with beautiful voices and dancing abilities.
Medda Larkin, ally to the Newsies and owner of the local theater, is double cast by Christie Urbina and Katie Webster. Both performers bring down the house with their rendition of “That’s Rich”.
Andrew Chalmers and Carson Shelton are double cast as Les, Davey’s rambunctious and savvy little brother. The cuteness factor of these two young men is off the charts. Their ability to sing, act, and dance with kids twice their age something to behold.
Nick Deaton does an incredible job as the media mogul, Joseph Pulitzer. One of the few adult roles in the show, Nick took on the demeanor of a middle-aged egomaniac both in voice and acting, which can be a daunting task.
Cooper Mabry as Crutchie, Jack’s rooftop roommate and best friend, is endearing, charming and spunky with a powerful tenor voice that both blends well in “Santa Fe” with Guerrasio and in his solo number, “Letter from the Refuge”.
Other Key-noteworthy performances worth mentioning include Maddie Crews as Buttons/Spot Conlin, Cole Pigford as Race, Callie Skipper as Albert, and Kristen Dickey as Mush.
Overall, ATLs NEWSIES is the whole package and raises the bar for Georgia High School Theater. This show is selling out fast, so get your tickets online today at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/atl
ATL’s NEWSIES runs Thursday, March 7th 7pm; Friday, March 8th 7pm; and Saturday, March 9th 2pm & 7PM
Disney’s NEWSIES — Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Jack Feldman; Book by Harvey Fierstein is presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International