GREENEVILLE – A detailed audition process has yielded an exceptional cast that will now turn its attention to rehearsals for the six-show spring production of “Newsies” at Tusculum University.
More than 100 actors auditioned for parts in this Broadway musical during the week of Jan. 14, and 71 landed roles after a comprehensive review. The production has immediately shifted to the next phase, with the first cast meeting, read-through and sing-through occurring Thursday, Jan. 25.
The cast list can be accessed at https://www3.tusculum.edu/news/tusc-family/2024/newsies-cast/.
“We were fortunate to have a large number of talented actors who demonstrated their skills remarkably and made selections challenging,” said Steve Schultz, director of “Newsies” and Tusculum Arts Outreach. “Those we selected will present lively and entertaining shows that will be memorable for our audience and reinforce the tradition of excellence from Theatre-at-Tusculum. Those we were unable to incorporate into the cast will still positively impact the caliber of other productions in our region, including future ones at the university.”
Playing the lead character is Todd Wallin, a junior history education major at Tusculum and already a veteran of theater productions at the university and in the community. The remaining cast comes from five counties – Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Unicoi and Washington – with a broad range of ages, the youngest being 9. The cast will have acting, singing and dancing parts.
Auditions were extensive and were conducted in several spaces within Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center. Aspirants were asked to perform a song for about 30 seconds, dance within a group after working with a choreographer and then act in a scene as part of a group. The process took three days, with a few changes in the schedule due to the extreme winter weather that hit the region.
With the cast selected, the 71 actors will now begin learning their lines and collaborate to perform shows that will draw audiences who live throughout the region.
“Newsies” is based on the 1992 Disney motion picture and inspired by a true story. It features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.
The musical is set in New York City about 1900 and shares the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what is right.
“Excitement is definitely in the air as we build toward another crowd-pleasing run of shows at Tusculum,” said Wayne Thomas, executive director of Arts Outreach and dean of the College of Civic and Liberal Arts. “Steve and the rest of the team have assembled a tremendous cast and will surround these actors with an amazing behind-the-scenes production crew that will create eye-appealing sets and costumes. This blend will result in a can’t-miss production that should be on everyone’s calendars.”
“Newsies” will be held in the Marilyn duBrisk Theatre inside Annie Hogan Byrd April 12, April 13, April 19 and April 20 at 7 p.m. and April 14 and April 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets will go on sale soon and will be available at https://arts.tusculum.edu/. Additional details about the production are available at bit.ly/3RHMTEL.
To learn more about the university, please visit www.tusculum.edu.