By Angela Norris
Agape Performing Arts Company is bringing Disney’s long-running smash Broadway hit Newsies to Indianapolis.
The cast of 20-somethings featured in the Broadway show and tours and most community theatre productions will change, as Agape’s cast includes 80 performers, including 50 kids ages 8-20 as newsboys, as well as people in their early 20s. The average age of a Newsie in the cast is around 14-15.
“We are delighted with the cast of Newsies. We have a phenomenally talented cast, and I’m eager to begin working with them on this outstanding show,” said award-winning Agape Artistic Director Dr. Kathy Phipps.
Agape’s cast includes locales from all around central Indianapolis. The cast also includes adults up to 55 years of age to play character roles, which includes Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Pulitzer and others. Agape was successful doing its first community theatre production last summer (Oliver!), as opposed to its usual youth theatre productions. The adults mentored the kids, and whole families were involved in the show. Agape is seeing that again.
The choreographer for Newsies is Joel Flynn, choreographer for Center Grove Sound System, the national award-winning show choir. Flynn plays Albert in the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s production of Newsies, and made it through several rounds of cuts for the Broadway tour. Flynn screened potential cast members using some of the actual Broadway choreography. Flynn joins Dr. Phipps and Jordan School of Music grad April Barnes, M.A. as musical director. Technical Director Chris Rose is joined by award-winning scenic artist Doug Rollison and Pat Cassady, among many others on the creative and support staffs.
Theatergoers may be familiar with actor Elijah Robinson, currently performing at Mud Creek Players Theatre in Jesus Christ Superstar. Robinson played Romeo in last year’s Bard Fest production of Romeo and Juliet. He plays Crutchie in one of the two casts for Newsies. The cast also includes several internationally-competitive ballet dancer/competitive cheerleaders, as well as numerous competition dancers; several members of the national award-winning Center Grove Sound System; and a number of other Indy Bard Fest performers. Out of the cast of 80, over 50 have had lead roles in other productions, making this an exceptionally strong cast.
Agape Performing Arts Company will perform The Sound of Music in March of next year, the only version of this musical to be performed in the state. Rights are not normally granted when the Broadway show is on tour. In 2017, Agape won two area-wide Mitty awards for Most Impressive Costumes and Most Impressive Youth Performance for its youth production of Les Misérables. The company was also selected to participate in Indy Bard Fest with its 2018 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and its upcoming return to Bard Fest this fall.
“I’m delighted to be directing The Sound of Music,” said Dr. Phipps. “When I was in my 20s, I played both the roles of Maria and The Baroness Von Schraeder. It is a dream come true to finally secure the rights and be able to direct this production.”
Auditions for The Sound of Music will be held later this year.
Agape Performing Arts Company is a ministry of Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church, in partnership with McGowan Hall.
Where: Thomas Carr Community Howe High School, 4900 Julian Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46201
When: July 12-14 & 19-21 (see apapeshows.org for dates and times).
Info: Tracey Rollison, Community Relations Director for Agape Performing Arts Company: (317) 983-1965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.