Pictured: Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School’s cast and crew proudly presented their rendition of “Newsies Jr.”
Photos courtesy of Connetquot Central School District
Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School in the Connetquot Central School District proudly presented on Feb. 1-3 their winter musical, “Newsies Jr.”
Disney’s “Newsies Jr.” is a shortened version of the 2012 Broadway musical, based on the 1992 film. When powerful newspaper publishers raise prices at the newsboys’ expense, the charismatic Jack Kelly rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions. Together, the newsies learn that they are stronger united and create a movement to fight for what’s right.
During months of rehearsals, the cast of middle schoolers worked hard to transform into the turn-of-the-century “newsies” for the performance. One student in particular, Dylan Dowdell, who played lead Jack Kelly during the Saturday matinee and evening show, overcame great obstacles leading up to the performance. In December, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His castmates rallied around him, even wearing purple ribbons as a symbol of solidarity during the performance. “When our friend Dylan got some bad news back in December, it was all hands on deck to support him with cards, gifts, words of encouragement and a willingness to do what was needed to keep the show moving forward,” said the show’s director Rachel White.
“Students, especially Christian Kerr, who played Jack Kelly in the Thursday and Friday shows, showed tremendous flexibility and grace in the day-to-day unknowns. They simply kept doing the work and sent their love and support out to their friend in need, and they were there for each other.”
The show even featured a special guest, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Centamore, who took on the role of Theodore Roosevelt.
Ms. White also shared a special, gratitude-filled message with her cast and crew ahead of the performance, saying, “Thank you to our cast and crew for being brave and working hard to bring something bigger than any one of you into the world.”
She went on to add, “I hope that as you move forward, you will count this experience as one you are proud of for how you have grown as performers, crew members and colleagues. I am filled with gratitude and respect for all that you have accomplished. Newsies forever!”