Montini Catholic's newly renovated auditorium was buzzing with excitement on Friday, November 18th for the opening night of "Newsies," a high energy musical, based on the Disney Film by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White and based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. The first of three weekend performances was nothing short of flawless according to fans.
No strangers to the stage, seniors Francesca Spizzirri (Oak Brook) and Nathan Camba (Burr Ridge) took on lead roles as Katherine Plumber and Jack Kelly respectively. Nathan last made his stage appearance this past spring in Montini's production of "The Video Gamapalooza" and was excited to take on the role as Jack. As a student at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst, Francesca played Specs, so she was quite thrilled to be able to step up her game with her new role in this current production. Her first role on the Montini stage came as a freshman in "Tune In To Murder."
Senior Maya Alikpala (Lombard) tackled the supporting role as Crutchie (her debut on the Bronco stage). Her past credits include Daughter ('Mulan Jr.'', Lioness ("The Lion King Jr.') and Birdgirl ("Seussical Jr.") with St. Mary of Gostyn Theatre! Maya is also a member of Montini Catholic's Chamber Choir. Freshman Xhaiden Ian Manalaysay also made his debut and nailed his supporting role as Davey. Xhaiden was previously an ensemble member in Beauty and the Beast at St. Matthews.
Montini history teacher, Mr. Andrew Weisenburger, made a cameo appearance as Teddy Roosevelt, surprising many of his fellow colleagues.
The play was directed by Theater Director, Jackie Martin. This is her first year as Theatre Director at Montini Catholic. She also teaches at St. Isaac Jogues School in HInsdale. Jackie has directed the Summer Theatre Program at St. Francis High School for the past six years and is also the director of the SIJ Theatre Program. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in Theatre Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts within Roosevelt University. "I am very thankful to the students and staff at Montini for making me feel so welcome in this great community!"
Assisting Ms. Martin was Music Director, Mr. Donnie Glowinski, in his 8th musical at Montini "I am so excited and proud of the work this cast has put in and was so excited to help them 'seize the day' for this production!"
Choreographer, Ms. Mandy Modic, works professionally in musical theatre as a performer, choreographer, director and educator. She performs in various Chicago theaters including Drury Lane, The Paramount and The Marriott. "
It is truly a joy to share my passion for musical theatre with these students and to see them radiating with confidence on stage," says Martin. "I have been so grateful for their enthusiasm and for their embarking on this musical journey. The story of "Newsies" still inspires us today to speak against injustice and to stand together for positive change. This group (both cast and crew) has given all of their effort to not only authentically tell this story, but to also support each other every step of the way!"
Next up, Montini Catholic's always anticipated Spring Musical in March!