The theater department should produce ‘famous’ shows more often

The recent production of “Newsies” was accompanied by larger audiences and more excitement surrounding the musical


By Abby White

Reaching out, senior Annie Bogart and the rest of the Newsies want to be let out.

Aiden Burke, JagWire assistant editor

Theater students performed their production of “Newsies” for this year’s musical. Performances in the past few years have included renditions of “42nd Street,” “Hello Dolly” and “30 Reasons Not to go Into the Woods,” but seldom are the musicals that the theatre chooses to produce as widely known as “Newsies.” The large production of “Newsies” will be followed by another well-known play the upcoming spring, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in order to give a proper send-off to the Little Theater, soon to be replaced by a new theater after the school’s construction is finished.

If you look at the amount of excitement surrounding the theater department after their original announcement that they would be producing “Newsies” earlier this year, it is clear that everyone enjoys seeing larger-scale productions in the theater. Seeing what sort of spin our theater department is able to put on musicals that many of us have already seen produced adds a new aspect of intrigue to the musical. 

The response from the student body after just the announcement that “Newsies” was being produced should be substantial enough to say that the vast majority of people would thoroughly enjoy more productions that are already well-known. That’s not to say that previous, smaller productions were not enjoyable – they were equally as entertaining as “Newsies” was – the only problem is that those musical productions didn’t garner the same audience all because the student body was less inclined to go watch a musical that they had never heard of.

“Newsies” easily won me over with revolutionary ballads sung by workers on strike, but my enjoyment of the production came from much more than just the intricacies of the plot. If an audience walks into the theater already knowing of the production and fully expecting to enjoy it, they will. Months before I even saw “Newsies” I had already heard praise of the musical from countless people, even those who you wouldn’t immediately expect to be fans of such a musical. 

Shows that are as famous as “Newsies” can obviously be more problematic to produce; they can be more costly and require larger cast sizes. Nonetheless, the attraction created by a more famous musical should be able to account for extra costs as well as recruiting larger casts who may be more interested in that musical than they would have been otherwise.

I think that if the theater department consistently comes out with productions that are already established as fan-favorites, they will have much greater success when it comes to attendance and enjoyment of those productions.

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