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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Theater preview: The Kalamazoo Civic’s new season opens with “Newsies”

Katherine Mumma / Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

It may be a rousing all-ages musical based on a Disney film, but Newsies is also a timely story about street children banding together to fight inhumane working conditions imposed by the rich and powerful. Opening Sept 16 at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre with a cast of around 40 performers, director Anthony J. Hamilton and actor Daniel Schubkegel take Cara Lieurance on a behind-the-scenes preview of the Civic’s season-opening production.

Katherine Mumma / Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

Schubkegel, 14, plays “Crutchie,” the best friend of Newsies’ main character “Jack Kelly,” played by Logan Awe. Schubkegel is from a family of talented performers and has already gained experience in live theater. But he says the Civic asked for a new level of professionalism from him, as he describes his experiences with a cast that came to the first rehearsal already prepped on lines, choreography, and music. Director Anthony Hamilton takes pride in this too, noting that his early experiences at the Civic instilled the same work ethic and ideals when he was starting out. He is now the Civic’s Resident Artistic Associate & Teaching Artist. They share the story of how the Disney movie, a box office failure, became a cult favorite inspiring the musical, and details on the casting, music, choreography and more as opening night approaches.

Newsies will run through Oct 2. Tickets and full details at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre website.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.