Newsies Production Sells Out, Draws Immense Crowd


Mr. Larry Luciano

McQuaid’s spring musical Newsies drew multiple sell-out crowds.

Last weekend, McQuaid Jesuit presented the Broadway musical Newsies to the school community and public.

After months of preparation and hard work, the production finally hit the stage, drawing in hundreds of patrons to multiple sold-out shows.

Newsies is based on the true 1899 Newsboys’ strike during which orphans and other youths pushed back against the rich and powerful publishers of New York City. The campaign’s focal point was on child labor rights and fair wages for the young labor force.

The musical follows Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of escaping the city life and moving west to pursue his ambition of  becoming an artist. As newspaper prices rise, he rallies together New York City’s newsboys and demands that they take action to push back against the powerful publishers.

Once McQuaid gained the right to perform the production, the cast and crew were faced with the challenge of bringing the production to life. With months of hard work and preparation, McQuaid’s theatre program successfully delivered the stunning production, selling out within days.

Newsies not only  sold out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but at one point an extra row of seats was added due to oversale. Patrons were so eager to see the production that it came to the point that extra seating had to be added to accommodate the substantial crowd.

The last time that a McQuaid production sold out was Les Miserables in 2009. Newsies selling out was a huge step forward for McQuaid.  This was reflected in the cast’s feelings about the musical, but also put McQuaid in the spotlight in the Rochester community.

Senior Paolo Blanchi took on the role of Finch in the production.  As a Senior this was his last McQuaid production and he reflected on his experience.

“I could not ask for a better way to end my career, I never thought about taking part in a musical, but I decided since I am a Senior I should just go for it and by the end I  found myself as passionate as about anyone else,” Blanchi said.

Paolo also commented on the feeling of being in a sold out show.

“It’s crazy, I have never been in a sold out show.  It’s a weird feeling, but the fact that every single person saw and made an effort to come out, that’s just crazy, it feels great,” he said.

With the months of stress and hard work, everyone involved knows that it paid off in the end.  Throughout the production, the passion and hard work could be seen in all of the actors.

However, without a set and crew, the production would not nearly be as successful as it was.  Everyone had a role in the final presentation to the audience, with the hard work of every single individual in the production, including but not limited to cast, set, crew, producers, music pit, costume designers and the rest of the production team.

Blanchi also commented on the stress from day one and how everyone had to focus and put their minds to work.

“We were all really worried, but the last couple of final practices we pulled it together and we had a show,” Blanchi said.

For many like Paolo, they had been involved with many McQuaid productions over the years.  However, for others Newsies was their first production at McQuaid. It was not only students in the production, teachers and faculty members also participated.

Math teacher Ms. Kristi Mabelis participated in a role in the production.

“This was my first McQuaid production since I was a student 25 years ago.  At Mercy I participated in all four of the Mercy-McQuaid productions,” Ms. Mabelis said.

Ms. Mabelis also commented on the fact that every single individual has a role that is significant.

“It was very exciting to be in an oversold show, I saw all the different jobs that people had and it was interesting to see another perspective now as an adult.  Instead of just worrying about my role, I was more observant of everyone else.  It is amazing how it came off with such a large cast,” she said.

Another deciding factor in the success of the show was how positive the atmosphere was.

“Even with the amount of hours, I’m glad I did it.  Ms. Stoffel would come down and only have positive comments, and she would tell us about the positive reaction from the crowd,”  Ms Mabelis added.

The success of the production was due to the hard work and time dedication from every single member that was involved, as all the roles played off each other. It was the teamwork and hard work together that made the show successful.