Friday, June 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on May 15th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 11

Nipomo High School Theatre finishes 2018-19 season with Disney's Newsies


Cameron Porter plays paperboy Davey Jacobs in Nipomo High School Theatre’s production of Newsies.

There’s no such thing as untimeliness when it comes to Newsies, nor any other musical where characters fight for basic rights and freedoms. Inspired by the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899 in New York City, the story centers on a ragtag team of newspaper delivery boys and girls—all either orphans or runaways—who lead a protest against the raise in distribution prices, which in turn lowered their compensation to the point of poverty.

“They must be treated with respect and be allowed to make enough money to survive,” Robyn Metchik, director of Nipomo High School (NHS) Theatre’s production of Newsies, said while describing one of her favorite numbers, “Seize the Day.” 

With lyrics like “wrongs will be righted/ If we’re united” and “tell those with power safe in their tower/ We will not obey,” it’s easy to understand why Newsies’ message and the plight of the children it’s based on remains so relevant today.

The musical originated as a Disney film—1992’s Newsies—before ever seeing a stage, with a young Christian Bale as the 17-year-old leader of the gang. It was a box office flop, but gained a cult following of sorts, which finally led to a Broadway adaptation nearly 20 years later. The stage show—which premiered in 2011—was both a commercial and critical success, earning a total of eight Tony Award nominations and winning two.

Seize the day
The Nipomo High School Theatre Department presents Newsies at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, May 23, through Sunday, May 26, at 7 p.m. each evening. Pre-sale tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students ($2 more at the door). The Clark Center is located at 487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande. Call (805) 489-9444 or visit for more info.

“I fell in love with Newsies when I saw it at the Pantages Theater in LA,” Metchik told the Sun. “I loved the energy of the show along with the storyline. The music is beautiful, and the simplicity of the set adds to the focus of the story.”

The only Newsies—as they’re nicknamed—who aren’t orphaned or homeless are brothers Davey and Les Jacobs, who join the paperboy fold after their father suffered an accident and became unable to work.

Lead protagonist Jack Kelly meets the two early on, as well as a young, bright-eyed reporter and potential romantic interest Katherine Plumber, who sees the Newsies’ protest as a great story opportunity.

“Write what you know/ So they say, all I know is I don’t know what to write/ Or the right way to write it,” Plumber sings, during “Watch What Happens,” as she struggles to find the right words for the article. “Poor little kids versus rich greedy sour pusses/ Ha, it’s a cinch/ It could practically write itself/ And let’s pray it does, cause as I may have mentioned/ I have no clue what I’m doing.

Nick Blanton—who plays Jack Kelly, leader of the Newsies—strikes the iconic pose found on the original show’s poster.

Aside from being relatable on a personal level to me as a journalist, the song is worth mentioning as it draws attention to how easy it would be for Plumber to simply frame the Newsies’ story as a standard underdog tale: David vs. Goliath; disgruntled paperboys vs. their publishers.

“Not only that, there’s a story behind the story,” she continues. “Thousands of children, exploited, invisible/ Speak up, take a stand …”

For NHS senior Taylor Robertson, who performs as both Buttons and Tommy Boy in the Newsies chorus, “The World Will Know”—the song where Kelly first proposes a strike—sums up the heart of the musical.

“They are able to express their frustration in such a powerful way that’s sure to touch every heart in the audience and let them feel as if they too are ready to go on strike,” Robertson said of the song.

Nipomo High School Theatre’s production of Newsies shows for one weekend only, May 23 through 26 at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts.

NHS junior Nick Blanton’s (who plays Kelly) favorite number is a tie between Robertson’s pick and “Santa Fe,” Kelly’s big solo.

“I think they are the most fun, and the audience will enjoy them a lot,” he said.

For Blanton, the best part about playing Kelly is getting to encourage his fellow Newsies when the going gets tough.

“I get to pump them up when times are hard and motivate them to pull through with the strike,” Blanton said. “It is definitely one of my dream roles, and I can’t wait to get up there and put on a great show!”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood needs a good pun for a protest sign. Send some ideas to

Weekly Poll
What do you think about Aera Energy canceling its project in Cat Canyon?

It's a victory for the environment!
It's a loss of a lot of potential jobs that are needed in North County.
I'm all for renewable energy, but we still need oil and gas.
The county should never approve another oil and gas project.

| Poll Results

My 805 Tix - Tickets to upcoming events