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Students, teachers anticipate upcoming Newsies auditions, performance

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

This year’s drama production differs from previous years by allowing the entire student body to audition.

Casts, scripts, auditions, oh my! Casting for the campus production company’s first show began Oct. 7. With 50 students attending initial auditions, the performance will recreate the Broadway Musical, Newsies performances later in February 2020.

Titled Spotlight Productions, the production company’s shows differ from previous campus performances where only students in drama class participated, as opposed to opening casting to all students.

New to FCS, drama teacher Megan Conner appreciates the students’ willingness to participate in something new. While some actors and performers have previous experience, many auditioned for the play for the first time.

“The kids did amazing!” Conner said. “For many of them, this was their first time in a formal audition setting like that and they all did great. The room was full of excitement and nervous energy but we prayed that God would give us all peace, and we had a fantastic time!”

Drama enthusiast, Shauna Howard, ’20, looks forward to the show and the added benefits of a production company. Howard mentioned that Spotlight Productions is able to travel to other campuses to perform their shows and plans to utilize this as a tool for ministry.

“I think it’s really good how Mrs. Conner has revamped the drama program and introduced the production company, Spotlight Productions,” Howard said. “And I think it’s going to be really fun having kids outside of the drama class, being able to participate in Newsies. I’m really excited to see how the process goes.”

In the following podcast, Danielle Arndt shares her excitement and preparation for the upcoming Newsies production.

Callbacks for a second round of auditions will be posted by noon, Oct. 8, and callback packets will be available (for those requested to return on Thursday) by the end of the day in both high school and main offices. Callbacks will be conducted on Thurs. from 5:30 – 8 p.m. in the Music Suite with the final cast list posted by Oct. 11 at noon. Although some students are not on the callback list, they are still in the running for the cast without needing to provide additional auditions for Conner.

Previously working for Good Company Players and Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre, Conner plans on collaborating with instrumental music director Lesley Bannister for some of the vocal portions of the show. Conner appreciates the experienced actors and singers within the auditioning group.

“Not surprisingly, we had quite a few strong vocalists since the music department on campus is so strong,” Conner said. “We also had some talented actors and dancers. We are very excited to see this cast come together. It’s going to be great!”

Danielle Arndt, ’26, also appreciates the transformation of the drama program under Conner. Arndt values the bonding that comes from teamwork and time spent together.

“This year, I think I’m most excited for spending time with the theatre company,” Arndt said. “We all just get to learn our parts and have fun together, even if we make mistakes it’ll still be a fun year.”

Laura Rauscher | The Feather Online

Lead by Megan Conner, Spotlight Productions starts its first musical, Newsies.

For students cast in the show, helping on crew, or running tech, Conner will host a Newsies Cast Party, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Oct. 20. Students are asked to bring a potluck dish to share and a blanket or lawn chair as they will also watch the Broadway film Newsies outside during the party.

There will also be a mandatory parent meeting, Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 528, while the students go to an “all-call” vocal rehearsal with Bannister in the Music Suite. Regular rehearsals begin Oct. 14 with an “all-call” cast and crew read-through in Room 528.

Outside of the dates noted, all other rehearsal dates are listed on the production calendar, and call sheets will be posted the week before rehearsals to let students know who will be called for the rehearsals that week. The final Newsies production plans to perform during February next year.

For another article on the drama program, read Spotlight Productions: Newsies musical open call campus auditions. 

For more articles, read Moms in Christ pray, support campus families, staff or Aimee Castaneda displays passion through singing, performing.

Vijay Stephen can be reached via Twitter.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email. 

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