Once the Spanish-American War made New Yorkers hungry for headlines, it was difficult to maintain that circulation audience after the war ended. Children who sold newspapers on the streets were called “newsies.” After newspaper publishers refused to lower the price-per-paper that the newsies had to pay back down to the pre-war prices, the New York newsies banded together in a strike. They went up against two of the largest newspaper publishers at that time — Joseph Pulitzer of The World and William Randolph Hearst of The Journal — in a fight for fair wages.

Based on the real-life strike of 1899, “Newsies” will come to life on center stage Dec. 3-5 in a production presented by Trinity Catholic Schools Drama Department.

Originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions, the play is based on the 1992 Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. Director Janel Schiff chose this production due to its family-friendly theme, great music and an abundance of dancing.

With “Newsies,” Schiff noted that there is a strong cast that offers opportunities for experienced senior drama students to shine. Due to its historical context, Schiff said she hopes the production will generate a large attendance for each performance.

“They should definitely take away the message of justice and that the newsies were not being treated fairly. And together, they were able to unite and demand some justice, some equity in how they were treated,” Schiff said. “So there’s a historical context to this musical that I think will also educate people about this true event in history in 1899.

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“The music is high energy, the dancing is a lot of fun. The characters have fun, there’s a great energy and interaction on stage. This group of students work well together. They’re united on stage and off.”

Meet the main characters

Trinity senior Carter Ehlis, right, receives newspapers during a scene on the set of "Newsies." (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
Trinity senior Carter Ehlis, right, receives newspapers during a scene on the set of "Newsies." (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)


‘Davey’ played by Carter Ehlis

Trinity senior Carter Ehlis plays the role of Davey, who is immediately taken by the freedom of the newsies and their independent lifestyle.

“He is the newcomer among the newsies. I believe I was casted as this because each play throughout my years, I’ve been not the nerd, but the guy who is nervous in the beginning and then finds his courage throughout the play,” Ehlis said. “And I think I fit that part this year as well.”

The energy throughout the production and learning more about what New York culture was in the late 1890s has been intriguing for Ehlis. As a senior, he said he hopes to inspire his younger classmen through his leadership and that not only their acting improves, but his also.

“I think it'll be one of our best shows in a while and most entertaining culture-wise. I think it'll look like we're having fun," Ehlis added.

Trinity seniors Dominc Tibor, left, and Hazel Emter in character during rehearsal for "Newsies." Jack Kelley, played by Tibor, and Crutchie, played by Emter, daydream of a life in Santa Fe away from the harsh realities of life in New York as a newsie. Presented by Trinity Catholic Schools Drama Department, “Newsies” will come to life on center stage Dec. 3-5. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
Trinity seniors Dominc Tibor, left, and Hazel Emter in character during rehearsal for "Newsies." Jack Kelley, played by Tibor, and Crutchie, played by Emter, daydream of a life in Santa Fe away from the harsh realities of life in New York as a newsie. Presented by Trinity Catholic Schools Drama Department, “Newsies” will come to life on center stage Dec. 3-5. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

‘Jack Kelley’ played by Dominic Tibor

The leader of the Manhattan newsies, Jack Kelley is a surly, independent dreamer who yearns to get out of the crowded streets of New York and make a better life for himself out West. Played by Trinity senior Dominic Tibor, Jack Kelley brings a “sarcastic” yet “flirtatious” tone to this play.

“I guess I learned that he's very powerful once he finds who he really is, and what he likes to do,” Tibor said.

For Schiff, Tibor’s role will soar above all of his other performances.

“Dominic has really grown as an actor (and) as a performer. His first main role was in 'Fiddler on the Roof.' And from that point on, he's just really blossomed into a very secure, confident young man on stage. And people, they’ll really be entertained and appreciate his vocal ability," Schiff noted.

Playing the roles of Katherine Plummer and Jack Kelley, Trinity seniors Brooklyn Berger, left, and Dominic Tibor sing "Something to Believe In" on the set of "Newsies" at the Trinity High School Auditorium. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
Playing the roles of Katherine Plummer and Jack Kelley, Trinity seniors Brooklyn Berger, left, and Dominic Tibor sing "Something to Believe In" on the set of "Newsies" at the Trinity High School Auditorium. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

‘Katherine Plumber’ played by Brooklyn Berger

Tibor’s character is inspired by Katherine Plumber, who is played by Trinity senior Brooklyn Berger.

“It's very exciting. I'm really grateful to be playing this role. It's really helped build my confidence. I love my role of Katherine. She's really fun to play. She's taught me a lot about myself; I've learned how to tap dance as well. So that's a skill that I can now say I have,” Berger added.

The cast of "Newsies," played by drama students of Trinity Catholic Schools. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
The cast of "Newsies," played by drama students of Trinity Catholic Schools. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Show details

Sponsored by The Press, “Newsies” will kick off at 7 p.m. on both Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4, followed by a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, all at the Trinity High School Auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door. For students K-12, tickets are $5 and $10 for adults.