By: Lacey Okamura, Senior Communications Intern
Under the direction of Artistic and Music Director Louis Gibilisco, Notre Dame High School Performing Arts students once again delivered a spectacular, Broadway-worthy performance, this time taking on the hit Disney show Newsies. The musical is based on the New York City Newsboys’ Strike of 1899. When Joseph Pulitizer raises the prices of ‘papes’ leaving the newsies hung out to dry, Jack Kelly and his ragtag team of newsboys, along with up-and-coming reporter Katherine Plumber, organize a strike to stand up against the injustice.
This high-quality production excelled in all areas, you could see the attention to detail from each costume to every lighting cue. What particularly set this group apart from others, though, were the outstanding dance performances, choreographed by Dance Instructor Debby Gibilisco. From the energetic opening of “Carrying the Banner,” to the newspaper extravaganza of “Seize the Day,” to the show-stopping tap number “King of New York,” the cast lit up the stage by pairing their impressive vocals with intricate choreography and extraordinary orchestral accompaniment. The entire cast moved so seamlessly across the stage, you would not imagine the students only had two months to prepare.
Audiences described Newsies as a “phenomenal show,” a “blockbuster performance” and “perfection from start to finish!” Among the awed crowd were many Notre Dame Alumni, including Marsha Frederico '74 Scarna, who participated in the musicals when she was a student at Notre Dame. Marsha loves theater, and after not being able to see a proper show in the past few years said, "It was so nice to see such a well put together show. We kept forgetting we were watching high school performers and not professionals!” The crowds grew every performance night as word of this outstanding show spread, and people returned to watch the show multiple times.
The precision and professionalism of the students did not go unnoticed. Every detail from set changes to final bows was perfectly executed, and it was truly hard to believe that high school students and not professional actors were on the stage. The entire cast, crew, and orchestra should be extremely proud of all their hard work that, from an audience perspective, most definitely paid off. Keep an eye out for what the gifted students of the Notre Dame Performing Arts program will do for next year’s spring musical!