PMS Drama Club preps for Friday opening of ‘Newsies Jr.’


It’s tech week for the Pelham Middle School Drama Club. The cast is doing full run throughs of “Newsies Jr.” in the run up to the show’s opening Friday night.

“This is a dance heavy show,” said Tom Beck, co-director with Arshia Panicker. So in preparing to perform the musical, the cast had to get in shape. 

“Newsies” opened on Broadway on March 29, 2011 and received astounding reviews from critics. This year, Beck and Panicker acquired the rights to stage the show as the middle school play. 

Casting for the production began in early October. From a talented core of actors at the middle school, the main cast was chosen. For the actors, this is the first middle school production since the Covid-19 pandemic abated, which meant an end to masks, weekly Covid tests and limited rehearsals. 

The musical follows Jack Kelly, a charismatic leader of New York’s newsies—kids who sell newspapers on street corners—who isn’t afraid to use his voice to attain better conditions for the working kids. Seventh grader Charlie McKee is playing Jack, after performing in one of the main roles in last year’s production of “Madagascar.”

In the show, Katherine Plumber is an ambitious young reporter who works hard to make a name for herself as a legitimate journalist. She is played by eighth grader Eleanor Condon.

Crutchie is Jack’s best friend and a dedicated newsie who uses crutches because he had polio. Jack is fiercely protective of him. He’s portrayed by seventh grader Alessia O’Kane.

A key ensemble number in the show is the crowd-pleaser “Seize the Day,” which showcases the talents of choreographer Jesse Pellegrino and the entire cast.

“Newsies” runs through Sunday.