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Daily Dose — Summer Youth Theatre program presents Newsies

Capitol Theatre Summer Youth Program musical theatre program, that has entertained the public for the past 35 years, presents Newsies from Thursday to Sunday — July 28-31 — at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson. — Submitted photos

The Capitol Theatre Summer Youth Program musical theatre program, celebrating 35th years of delivering theatre to the public, presents a full-scale musical production of Newsies from Thursday to Sunday — July 28-31 — at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson.

The show is a culmination of a month’s hard work from the youth actor to the directorial team and theatre staff to the crew. 

The musical is set in 1899, a time of significant change worldwide.

It is an animated tale that features Jack Kelly, a charismatic newspaper deliverer and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.”

When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the deliverers’ expense, Jack rallies newsies citywide to fight against unfair conditions and for what’s right.

Inspired by a true story and based on the 1992 motion picture Newsies, the show features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies is full of both heart and excitement and taps into deeper themes of inequity and collective organizing to agitate for change. 

The box office manager of the Capitol Theatre, Allison Girvan, says of this year’s summer youth program: “It’s going amazingly.” 

There is a celebratory feeling in the air at the theatre as this musical is the first full-scale production put on without adapting to Covid restrictions since the pandemic began.

Girvan says it’s incredible to see to show coming to fruition, and the response from the youth in the program has been exceedingly positive. 

“The youth are so invested," she said.

"They can relate so wholly to the characters they’re playing. They are incredibly engaged young adults playing incredibly engaged young adults.”

Girvan says that audience members can expect a huge amount of energy from the cast.

"(There's) an amazing amount of youthful commitment, and tunes you’ll be humming along to.”

Girvan asks the community to support the youth by coming to see the show. 

“This is a celebration of youth and youth empowerment,” she says.

The show’s director, Heather Shippit, has a long history with the Capitol Theatre. Hired as a summer student in this program in 1997 to do promotions and stage management on West Side Story and Hair, she returned to direct Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Les Miserables.

Shippit later designed the sets of a couple of other Capitol Theatre shows. 

The show’s leadership team also includes Musical Direction by Malaika Horswill, Choreography by Carly Brandel, and Assistant Director Jessie Greenway and Assistant Musical Director Sapphire Guthrie.

The youth theatre program operates with sponsorship from the Nelson and District Credit Union, the Rotary Club, Canadian Heritage, the Province of BC, the City of Nelson and Hall Printing.

The family-friendly show is two hours long, including intermission, and tickets are still available for all four nights. The tickets are $20 for an adult and $15 for a student. Please contact the Capitol Theatre Box Office at 250 352 6363 for tickets or visit the online box office

It was almost a month ago when the cast met for the first day of rehearsal for Newsies at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson.