Living a Big Life in a Small Town

Morgan Reed, Reporter

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They may not be true Kings of New York, but the Newsies cast certainly dominated the stage of the Aspen District Theatre this past January. Students from all across the valley, ranging from Aspen to New Castle, presented an adaption of the critically-acclaimed Broadway Musical, Newsies.

The play, directed by Graham Northrup and written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White, is inspired by the Disney film portraying the real-life newsboys’ strike that occurred in the late 1800s in New York City. The plot focuses on Jack Kelly, who is played by Glenwood Springs High School senior Blake Novy.

Novy is a prominent face in theatre programs up and down the valley, including the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, and has been apart of the GSHS Theatre program since the start of his freshman year. Kelly, Novy’s lead character, is a charismatic, headstrong newsboy making a living on just pennies a day along with his band of rough-tough newsie brothers and sisters. The play emphasizes how humans perceive others, and how often times there is a completely different person hiding underneath the facade people create for themselves.

Most of the New York Newsies view Kelly as somewhat of an invincible hero who will always be willing to stand at the front line of any fight. However, in truth, Kelly is quite the softy, an artist, and is more human and less of a fictional hero than any of his friends. He is portrayed as a symbol of hope, strength, and unity for the lowest of the low in a city that treats them like garbage.

“The opportunity alone to portray such an iconic character in the theatre world, and to do it at such a young age was incredible,” said Novy.

Apart from Novy’s jaw-dropping vocal work, the most notably impressive aspect of his performance was his ability to maintain a thick New York accent throughout the entirety of the show, including throughout musical numbers and while dancing.

“Theatre Aspen, in general, is very energetic atmosphere compared to some of my other experiences,” Novy added. “Everyone really wants to be there and wanted to make the most of their time, which made everything go really smooth and made the whole process a lot easier and overall more fun.”

Newsies showed on January 11, 12, and 13, and Theatre Aspen will be producing a new musical during the 2019-2020 school year.