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Best written reviews for “Newsies” performed by Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Reviewed on April 2, 2022.

Isa Paley

Wakefield High School


Extra, Extra! Read all about it! No exaggerated headline needed here, because Quince Orchard High School's fantastic production of Disney's Newsies was better than front page news.


Based on the 1992 movie of the same name (which itself was loosely based on an actual newsboy strike), the musical has a book by Harvey Fierstein and music by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman. It follows a lively group of Manhattan newsboys as they initiate a strike after the price for their papers is raised. It's a story of fighting corruption, the power of unified groups, and standing up for what you believe in.


Quince Orchard High School demonstrated a clear understanding of the musical's theme of teamwork, as their ensemble was succinct and vibrant, each person integral to the overall story. One standout number was "Seize the Day" in which the newsies began their strike. The cast showed exemplary vocal and dancing skills, balancing both in order to present a powerhouse, show-stopping number. There were harmonies, flips, and pirouettes on top of newspapers, without anyone missing a beat.


The entire group of Manhattan newsies were a dynamic group of performers, but as the team's leader, Jack Kelly, Matthew Rubin stole the show. Rubin had a clear and gorgeous voice, as well as the acting chops to match it. He was a truly believable leader and committed fully to the role, having wonderful chemistry with everyone he interacted with, particularly Katherine (Catherine Brady), his love interest in the show. Also fantastic was Hayden Polsky as Davey, a new newsie who helps Jack organize the strike. Polsky conveyed Davey's anxiety and enthusiasm with ease and made exhilarating choices with his vocal solos.


But every good newsboy needs a supportive adult behind him. As Medda Larkin, Jack's vaudeville singing confidant, Giorgia Dallasta stunned the audience with an incredible rendition of the song "That's Rich." To foil the kindness of Medda, Patrick Barrett was also phenomenal as antagonist Joseph Pulitzer, balancing both his heightened comedy and purely menacing moments. With such a large cast, every role truly mattered. Some other standouts were the energy of Finch (Fiona Bradford), the surprise comedy of Teddy Roosevelt (Chase Pasekoff), and the singing and dancing of the Bowery Beauties (Hayley Asai, Baile Beck, and Danielle Garcia.)


Matching the top-notch performance of the cast, Quince Orchard's tech crew did an outstanding job. Amelia Jabes, Alexa Rosenthal, Solenn Lemiale, Audrey Mitchell did an impeccable job with lighting, changing colors to capture the ever-shifting moods, and managing the difficult job of working follow spots. In conjunction, Davis Kessler, Noah Weber, Solenn Lemiale, and Alison Wang also helped frame the story with their sets, which truly built the New York atmosphere.


The entire cast and crew of Quince Orchard High School's production of Disney's Newsies "seized the day" and gave an incredibly exciting and energetic performance, that may have just convinced a few people to start a strike of their own.

Grace Drost

Chantilly High School


As if ripped from today's headlines, Quince Orchard's production of Newsies captured the story of underdogs joining together to overcome the adversity of more powerful forces.


The musical Newsies, which recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary, is based on the Newsboy Strike of 1899. The show takes the audience on a journey with the downtrodden Newsboys. When prices of the newspapers they rely on for subsistence suddenly skyrocket, the Newsies are left reeling. Unofficial Newsboy leader, Jack Kelly, steps up to the plate to organize the Newsboy Strike with the help of idealistic reporter Katherine Plumber. The strike is a dangerous choice, but the unity of the Newsboys proves to be a powerful force for change.


Adored by the rest of the Newsies, Jack Kelly (Matthew Rubin), was a cool and cocky presence. Rubin embodied Kelly's infectious spirit with purposeful physicality and youthful fight that radiated from the stage. Throughout the show, Rubin maintained an abundance of energy that was exhibited in his lively dancing, singing, and acting, and maintained an authentic New York accent throughout the evening. Not only was he good on his own, but he beautifully established his relationship with other characters best displayed in the growing chemistry with Katherine Plumber (Catherine Brady). Brady showcased Plumber's drive to be a woman in the news industry with strong determination. Her desperation was electric in her performance of "Watch What Happens" as she navigated through the difficult song with ease. As her character fell in love with the Newsies, Brady made small tweaks to her physical choices and slowly became one of the Newsies. Her tap dance with the other Newsboys during "King of New York" displayed her newfound vivacity.


The Newsboys, including members like Crutchie (Jordan Richard) and Davey Jacobs (Hayden Polsky) were an encouraging display of unity. Their family-like dynamic throughout the entire show was heartwarming and inspiring. They were vibrant while dancing and singing, especially during songs such as "Seize the Day" and "The World Will Know," even keeping up energy outside of the spotlight. The inclusion of moments when the Newsies came into the audience to sing made the show's audience feel like they were a part of the rebellion.


The tech elements highlighted the more intimate moments of such an energetic show. Set designers (Davis Kessler and Noah Weber) made the stage seem as if it was surrounding the audience, by extending set pieces all the way to the left and right of the large theater. The Private Box, where Jack and Katherine meet for the first time, was almost in the audience. Each set piece was simplistic and versatile, capturing the feel of the streets, as well as making the transitions quick. Lighting (Amelia Jabes and Alexa Rosenthal) added more to the story by utilizing bold colors for different scenes, such as pink for romance and red for anger. They also carefully considered how the lighting would look for each time of day, projecting a realistic looking moon onto the side of the theater when it was nighttime.


Quince Orchard High School's production of Newsies reveals the importance and power of unity. The Newsboys of New York teach a prescient and important lesson that no one is too young or too poor to stand up for themselves.


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