Young cast ‘seize the day’

Performers prepare Newsies Jr ahead of its Australian premiere at Drum Theatre on Sunday 15 May.

In next to no time, 50 young performers are staging the Australian premiere of the musical Disney Newsies Jr.

The Berwick-based Masquerade Youth Productions troupe designed and rehearsed the 60-minute version of the 2012 Broadway hit just in the past weekend.

And it’s set to hit the stage in Drum Theatre, Dandenong on Sunday evening.

“The crazy idea to take on the challenge of a short rehearsal and production time was to add to the experience and try to avoid any ‘covid’ related effects,” artistic director Carmen Powell said.

“Strike while the irons hot!

“Having the Australian Premiere is just so exciting for our team and cast, including the audience! It’s a ‘first’ for everyone.”

Newsies Jr is based on the 1992 film inspired by the rousing true story of newsboys in turn-of-the-century New York City.

It features now-classic songs Carrying the Banner, Seize the Day, and Santa Fe, with a Tony Award winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.

Ms Powell said it was a thrill to return to the stage after being unable to perform in the past “two years of chaos”.

“For many children and young people, theatre is their sport,” Ms Powell said.

“They are committed and passionate about everything musical theatre.

“They are our future artists and it’s wonderful to provide them with the opportunity to learn and experience theatre in a program designed for young people.”

Since 2014, Masquerade Youth Productions has staged spectacular shows with casts aged 8-21.

Disney Newsies Jr is at Drum Theatre, cnr Walker and Lonsdale streets, Dandenong on Sunday 15 May, 7pm. Bookings: