Breaking "NEWSIES" - Inside Xaverian's Fall Musical
By Nick Daoust ’21, #XBCorps
Newsies is coming to the Xaverian Brothers High School stage this fall, and it’s an experience you won’t want to “take five” on. Featuring a host of Xaverian students as well as talent from Ursuline, Montrose, and Norwood High School, Newsiestells the story of striking newsboys in early 20th century New York City. Those involved in all aspects of the musical are enthusiastic about bringing this important and exciting story to our community.
Director and choreographer Julianne O’Connor, who brought us last year’s Golden Boy and Curtains!, describes Newsies as a “heavyweight” which “will undoubtedly test us in every capacity.” Thankfully, Xaverian has provided the theater with the infrastructure to pull off such a technically challenging performance through our continued fundraising for the arts. More recently, this money has gone specifically to improving the sound and lighting systems within our theater, which were last updated in 2009. John Roper ’20, for whom Newsies will be the fifth show he’s worked on using lighting software he wrote himself, is grateful for Xaverian’s implementation of the new technological resources. “It’s really nice to have something that’s easier to use than the last system,” he says of the improvements. “I am very excited for this theater year because of all the technological enhancements.” Ms. O’Connor agrees, saying, “By providing us with more possibilities in terms of production designs and giving our acting students more of a professional atmosphere in which to explore and create, Xaverian has shown their desire to make the arts a special part of a student's Xaverian experience.”
In addition to the results of the arts-based funding, the musical’s actors are most eager to praise the program’s inclusivity, which extends its hand not only to all Xaverian’s Francis Xavier Division and high school students but also past campus grounds. For Newsies, 21 of our own students are joined by eight Ursuline, three Montrose, and four Norwood High School students. The talk among all cast and crew members is unanimous: Xaverian’s theater program is, as Ian Arnold ’20 puts it, “integrated and open to anyone who has a love and a passion for what they’re doing.” Ian, who will graduate in the spring, has participated in four previous Xaverian shows. Montrose student Lucy Stefani ’21, whose third Xaverian performance is this upcoming production, agrees: “It’s a really great community. Everyone’s working hard and bringing something to the program to make Newsies a quality show.”
“I can’t stress enough how much work goes into a production,” Ms. O’Connor shares. “The phrase ‘it takes a village’ has never been more true. The students you see onstage and the faculty, staff, and parent helpers have given endless hours of their time to ensure this production is everything it can be.” Ms. O’Connor does not mention her own contribution to the show, but it’s apparent in her balancing act of hours of after-school rehearsals, impromptu dance lessons during lunch periods, not to mention her course load as a teacher during the regular academic day.
Newsies is a feat brought to fruition by students and faculty passionate about, and dedicated to, the performing arts. The show will be a testament to the participants’ tireless planning and rehearsal, and also to Xaverian’s extensive initiative for a greater focus on the arts. Playing in Xaverian's theater, you can catch Newsies at two evening shows and one matinee from November 22 to 24.
A private, Catholic, college preparatory day school for boys in grades 7-12. The Boston area prep school offers a rigorous academic curriculum, a well-developed campus ministry program focused on faith, character, and leadership, and a proud athletic tradition featuring competitive Division 1 high school athletics in the Catholic Conference.