‘Seize the Day’

Hoover students ‘stop the world’ with Disney’s ‘Newsies’

Megan Miller, Business Manager

February is often a busy month for students at Hoover High School. For the thespians of the school, this was the time where students prepared the musical “Newsies” which ran Feb. 20-22.
Each year, Mrs. Mindy Whitesmith, the Hoover choir director, chooses the musical she feels will best suit the cast.
“We knew that we have a very strong core of musical theatre students,” she said. “We needed a powerful show that would feature a large chorus. It fit our students well. You have to know that you have the talent to meet the requirements of the musical you choose.”
This year, “Newsies” gave the cast many chances to connect with the story and portray it to the audience.
“I feel that every cast member on the stage had a story to share of a child that had been subject to child labor,” she said. “When you have history on your side, it gives the actors more opportunities to research and connect with stories from the past that are begging to be told, experienced and shared.”
She really enjoyed watching the cast come together to make this show happen.
“I am most proud of the sense of ‘team’ and family that students created during the production,” she said. “Whether they were dancing on stage or behind the scenes, the students really joined together to make this musical a show-stopper. Everyone felt valued and important no matter what their role. A lot of memories were created because of the sense of student pride and ownership within the ‘Newsies’ production.”
Junior Grace May played the part of a newsie in the ensemble of the musical. This was her first time being in the musical at Hoover.
“I [was] most excited to do the performances,” she said. “Performances are always so fun, and I [got] to do them with all my friends. It [was] such a great cast and we all [had] a good time.”
Even though she was not in the musical last year, she still got involved backstage. That past experience played a big part in why she auditioned for “Newsies.”
“I enjoyed every moment of it,” she said. “I [could not] wait for everyone to see all the hard work we as a cast [had] all put into [the] show.”
She believes that “Newsies” is a show that everyone can enjoy.
“It’s a show including humor, happiness, anger and even some sadness,” she said. “It will tap into one or more of your emotions throughout the course of the show.”
Not only was she able to sing and act while preparing for the show, but she also grew closer to the rest of the cast.
“My favorite part of the musical [was] the community,” she said. “The cast itself [was] a big family, but even more-so, the show [brought] a whole community of people together.”
For her, the best part of being in the musical was seeing how the audience was touched by the cast’s performance.
“It’s so exciting to put on a show for hundreds of people,” she said. “To have them enjoy it [was] even more of a blessing.”
The character of Jack Kelly was played by Hoover junior Matt Kiraly. Even though he has been involved in musicals at Hoover since his freshman year, “Newsies” was a much different experience.
“It’s very dance heavy,” he said. “I [had] never done a show where I had to do a lot of dancing before. I would say that is the biggest difference between this show and shows I’ve done in the past.”
He was very excited to perform this show for an audience because he felt that it was something people would really enjoy watching.
“There’s a lot of singing, dancing and emotions in it,” he said. “I think it’s a feel good story. It will lift your spirits up.”
While getting to be on stage and perform is an enjoyable experience, his favorite part was getting the chance to work with everyone else.
“They make it great every year,” he said. “That’s not only what I [looked] forward to, but it [was] also my favorite part.”
After months of rehearsing, the cast was finally able to showcase their final product by telling the story of “Newsies.” Whitesmith was very happy with how the performances went and all that the cast accomplished.
“‘Newsies’ was a tremendous success,” Whitesmith said. “The students’ hard work and dedication created a show that will go down in the books as one of the greats on the Hoover High School stage.” ♦