It’s a tale as old as time; the rich, strong and powerful exploiting the poor, weak and downtrodden…until they’ve had enough of it. A singing-and-dancing version of this age-old struggle hits the stage of the Emma Kelly Theater on March 25-28 as over 30 local and area children, teenagers and adults tell the tale of Jack Kelly vs. Joseph Pulitzer in Disney’s Newsies The Musical.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing story of Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of children and teenagers who sell newspapers on the streets (“newsies”). Kelly dreams only of a better life far from the hardships of the rough-and-tumble neighborhoods. But when publishing titan Joseph Pulitzer raises distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies the newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.  

Eric Mims portrays Jack Kelly while Alan Tyson is Pulitzer in the musical. Other main characters are Katherine Plumber (Ashley Horton), Crutchie (Jarron Guy), Davey (Brandon Adams), Les (Lola Schwarz), Medda (Christie McLendon) and Spot Conlon (Macy Norton). Averitt Executive Artistic Associate Robert Cottle is the director of the production.

The “newsies” are Caroline Sawhill, Stephen Thomas, Shanna Haselton, John Wesley Keene, Ally Keene, Shelby Croft, Ella Sobaje, Sosi Sobaje, Benjamin Sobaje, Maddie Herman, Thom Mortimore, Thomas Smith, Charlotte Bridges, Christopher Fowler and Hannah Holton.

Other cast members who play multiple roles are Abigail McMichen, Nichole Deal, Stan Haselton, John Oglesby, John Parcels, Brooks Adams, Gage Landing and Benny Stansel.

The play originated as a Disney movie musical in 1992 and opened on Broadway in 2012. The local production sees 17 musical numbers such “Carrying The Banner,” “Seize The Day,” “Santa Fe,” and “King of New York.”  Kellye Watts directs the musical score with she and Cottle on keyboards, Kristen Watts (flute), Jacob McCooey (bass), Matt Fallin (percussion), Richard Josh (saxophone), Tracy Yarbrough (trumpet), Zach Gatewood (trombone).

Newsies was inspired by the real-life “Newsboy Strike of 1899,” when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphaned and homeless newsies on a two-week-long strike against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, and other powerful newspaper publishers.

Sponsored locally by Georgia Power, Josh D. Tucker, P.C. and Statesboro Cardiology, the singing-and-dancing extravaganza opens on the Jan Brown Anderson stage at the Emma Kelly Theater Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. Evening performances continue on March 26 and 27 with a 3 p.m. matinee on the 28th. Tickets are $25 for reserved seating, $23 for Averitt members, active or retired members of the military, first responders and city of Statesboro employees. Student tickets are $15. Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, seating is very limited. There are also no on-line sales. To purchase tickets, simply visit the Box Office at the Averitt Center Main Gallery (open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday) or call 912-212-2787.