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WMHS Drama Club Presents a United Front in NEWSIES: The Musical

Woodlands Middle and High School thespians took the stage this weekend for three performances of Newsies: The Musical, and as the song goes, fans wanted to “Watch What Happens!”

The musical is based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899. It tells a story of bravery and justice when a group of impoverished youths with big hearts and big dreams take on the publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer after newspaper prices are raised at the expense of the newsboys. 

The WMHS production, helmed by Hillary Johnson and Claire Cronin, has been years in the making. The musical was initially slated for 2020 but had to be shelved due to COVID. “We are so excited about this show. It has fun parts, great music, and a strong message of resilience and the power of unity,” said Ms. Johnson. “It was incredibly disappointing not to have been able to do it in 2020. This year we have a stellar cast, so it softens that blow. I think this is one of our best shows.”

The cast features Woodlands middle and high students, and even RJB students made an appearance. For the cast members, it’s been well worth all the work. “It’s been such a great experience,” said Jake Morton, a 10th grader at WHS who is playing the role of Davey. “Working on this musical has made us a really tight-knit and supportive community.” For senior Nancy Nwozu, the experience has been a little bittersweet. “This is my fourth, and last, show at Woodlands,” she said. “It feels like a mixture of excitement and sadness, but I’m also truly excited about this show.” 

At the other end of the grade spectrum, this was seventh grader Caterina Gonzalez’s first time stepping onto the Woodlands stage. Caterina, who plays Les, is one of the youngest cast members in a featured role. “The Drama Club is such a loving community,” she said. “The upperclassmen have so much to bring to the table. I’ve learned a lot from them.”