This is a group photo of newsies who are rehearsing for the musical "Newsies," which is coming to The Capitol Theatre for six shows in April. Photo courtesy of Eric Kaltenmark of EK Photography

This is a group photo of newsies who are rehearsing for the musical "Newsies," which is coming to The Capitol Theatre for six shows in April. Photo courtesy of Eric Kaltenmark of EK Photography

'Newsies' is at Tusculum

April 12–21, 2024 @ Capitol Theatre

High-caliber acting, singing and dancing await guests when the curtain rises for six performances of the musical “Newsies” presented by Tusculum University.

Theatre-at-Tusculumholds lively shows April 12, April 13, April 19 and April 20 at 7 p.m. and April 14 and April 21 at 2 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Greeneville, Tennessee. Steve Schultz, the director of “Newsies,” has teamed since January with an ensemble cast of about 70 to produce a show that will have audiences singing the songs and quoting lines as they return home.

“Cast members are focused on creating an exceptional and memorable experience for our audiences with this fun musical,” said Schultz, who also serves as director ofTusculum Arts Outreach. “The tremendous energy audiences will feel when they come to the shows and the quality of our production have been reflected in our rehearsals. We encourage community members throughout East Tennessee to join us for one or more of these outstanding shows.”

“Newsies” is based on the 1992 Disney motion picture that was later adapted for the Broadway stage and is inspired by a true story.It features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.

The musical is set in New York City about 1900 and shares the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what is right.

Tusculum’s version of “Newsies” is taking place at The Capitol Theatre because Arts Outreach recently discovered the need for some repairs to the stage in the Marilyn duBrisk Theatre on campus. Those repairs are unlikely to be complete prior to opening night for “Newsies,” and Arts Outreach does not want to delay the production because of the cast and community excitement about the production. Schultz thanked The Capitol Theatre for providing this alternative location.

The cast and leads

The show features Todd Wallin playing Jack as the male lead and Rachel Lawrence playing Katherine as the female lead. Other cast members who have primary solos are David Gipson as Pulitzer, Taci Kea as Medda, Owen Philbeck as Davey and Ethan Swatzell as Crutchie. They are joined by 61 other cast members, including many boys and girls, who have singing, dancing and acting parts.

People can read the last of cast members at

“When I first heard the announcement that Tusculum was putting on ‘Newsies,’ I was ecstatic because I loved that show so much and I really wanted the opportunityto showcase my ability as a lead character,” Wallin said. “It truly is an honor to be entrusted with this role, as it has helped me overcome the doubt of not having the skills to portray a lead character and to do so many wonderful and exciting things.”

Wallin, a Tusculum junior who is majoring in history education, has been connected to Tusculum theater since fifth grade when he joined what is now called the Tusculum Youth Actors Studio. More recently, he has been on the stage for several Tusculum productions, including “Mamma Mia,” “Macbeth” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” He performed in “The Letter,” one of the “5 X 10 Plays,” and “The Glass Menagerie” in 2023.

Lawrence earned a bachelor’s degree in theater and then joined the Cumberland County Playhouse, a professional regional theater in Middle Tennessee. She served for four seasons, performing in a variety of shows. In 2021, she moved to Johnson City. Earlier in her life, she lived in Greene County and danced with Central Ballet. “Newsies” will be the first theater production for this new mother since she returned to the area.

“This is a show that I’ve always wanted to do,” Lawrence said. “I was lucky enough to see it on Broadway in 2012, and that inspired me to go into theater because I loved that show so much. It’s always been a really exciting show for me. I love the role of Katherine. I’ve performed her song ‘Watch What Happens’ in different cabarets and other places over the years, so it has been pretty much top of the dream role list since 2012.”

Behind-the-scenes personnel

In addition to the cast, Schultz has assembled an experienced team to handle the behind-the-scenes work associated with “Newsies.” Team members are:

·Dodger Kirkland – stage manager

·Elijah Collins-White – technical director and set designer

·Erin Hensley Schultz – costume director

·Faith Rader – music director

·Elizabeth Sparks – lead choreographer

·Eliza Weekley – assistant choreographer

·Ben Sparks – fight choreographer

·Jon Moore – sound designer

·Beth Schnura – lighting designer

·Laura Dupler – props coordinator

·Gary Renfro – master painter

“I am delighted to have so many of these theater veterans who have stepped forward to lend their expertise to the strength of this production,” Schultz said. “Combined with the skills of our cast members and the community support we have already received, there is no doubt ‘Newsies’ will leave its imprint as one of the best shows we’ve ever done. We take great pride in ensuring our productions at Tusculum achieve a high standard of excellence, and ‘Newsies’ will meet that mark.”

Additional perspectives

“It’s really exciting to see so many kids collaborating in the show,” Lawrence said. “That’s what the show is about – seeing the power of what happens when a bunch of kids get together and use their voices. It also been really nice to perform in this production and watch everyone be so excited to take part in it. I hope people see all of the work and spirit that the cast and crew are putting into the show.”

Wallin has a similar view, saying every cast member playing a newsie is giving 110% during rehearsals as the ensemble creates what he is confident will be an excellent show. He also compliments the adult actors and praises Lawrence for perfectly capturing her character’s motivations and desires.

“This is such a fantastic story, and Steve Schultz has such an amazing vision for it that I cannot wait for people to see ‘Newsies,’” Wallin said. “I also think this is the perfect time for this story to be told. This show is not just about newsboys striking against unfair wages, it is also a story about the voice of the youth. That message rings true as much today as it did during the actual strike and when the musical was being written.”

Tickets and more details

Schultz urges audience members to obtain their tickets in advance at Tickets are $17 for anyone 13-59, $15 for those 60 and older and $5 for children 12 and younger. The show is appropriate for people of all ages.

Additional information about “Newsies” is available at To learn more about the university,

Category: Theatre