Pittsburg Community Theatre’s upcoming musical, “Newsies," includes many Pittsburg residents, from newcomer Emily Cooper George, who was smitten with the community when she attended a showing of “Shrek” here in 2016, to longtime resident Susie Lundy, who has been in countless productions.
But the production has also drawn performers from across the Four States. Many are driving a quite a few miles each week in order to be part of it.
Among them: Joplin resident Andy Garman has plenty of Brooklyn pride as Spot Conlon, the leader of the Brooklyn newsies. In real life, he’s an electrical engineer in Springfield, Missouri. If you saw MRB’s “CATS” this spring, you may recognize him as the singing Mr. Mistoffelees!
Xander Goertzen, a seventh grader from Webb City, Missouri, plays Les, the youngest newsie in the bunch who hits the streets with his older brother, Davey, to earn money for their family. When Xander attended MRB’s production of “Alice in Steampunk Wonderland,” he knew he wanted to dance and be a part of theatre, and he’s studied with Lewis ever since. He’s already performed in several shows, including "Beauty and the Beast," "The Nutcracker," and "CATS." The first time he saw "Newsies," he knew he wanted to be Les and started taking tap classes to prepare.
Oscar Delancy, a thug who works for the highest bidder, is being played by St. Paul, Kansas native Noah Smith. This is his first show with PCT, but as a student at Pittsburg State University, he was in every Pitt State Theatre production last year.
After his last high school play, Colton Stacy, a native of Liberal Missouri, was sure that was it — he’d never get to perform again. He was wrong. Now a student at the University of Central Missouri, he’s playing Specs, a street smart newsie with plenty of wit.
Luke Gilmore, a Parsons native majoring in music theatre and vocal performance at Oklahoma City, first saw a performance by the “Newsies” company during the 2012 Tony Awards at age 13 and was so fascinated with the story that he rushed to watch the Disney movie. In 2016, he saw the Broadway National Tour when it stopped in KC. And now, he’s performing in the role of Buttons — a young newsie whose parents died at a young age, and he was left on the streets of New York too young to fend for himself.
Franklin, Kansas, resident Tammy Warford plays Katherine, the sassy reporter who befriends the newsies and helps them with their cause. In real life, she’s a teacher for students with visual impairments through Greenbush. She first saw “Newsies” when a Joplin movie theater had a special showing a couple of years ago, and it instantly became one of her favorite musicals. She and her 6-year-old daughter have spent many hours listening to the cast recordings together.
Matthew Palmer, a Baxter Springs, Kansas resident who will be a student at Saint Louis University in August, has longed to perform in “Newsies” ever since he first saw it. In his first performance with PCT, he’s taking on the role of Finch, a passive-aggressive newsie who loves to feel as though he has a big part in everything. “The musical shows the true bravery it takes to stand up in the face of adversity and fight, no matter their age,” he said.
Tickets are selling fast; order yours now to guarantee the best seat. They may be purchased at www.memorialauditorium.org or at the box office, 503 N. Pine, or by calling 620-231-7827. Ticket costs: adults $12, seniors/children 13 and under $10, general admission balcony $8.