Thayne Jasperson, from the original Broadway cast of “Newsies,” has been working with students as a guest choreographer.
Mt. Laurel’s Curtain Call Performing Arts Center is looking to spread the news about its latest production as students prepare to debut “Newsies” on June 28.
Locals may be familiar with “Newsies The Musical,” which ran on Broadway from 2012 to 2014 for more than 1,000 performances before going on to tour through 2016.
The musical was adapted from the 1992 Disney film “Newsies,” which itself was inspired by the real-life newsboys strike of 1899 in New York City where a labor dispute saw thousands of newsboys refuse to distribute the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.
Curtain Call founder and director Anne Kessler describes Curtain Call’s upcoming production as a family-friendly piece where kids can still learn lessons relevant even today, despite the show being set in 1899.
“It’s extremely relevant to the movements of the kids today with events such as the Parkland shooting with kids now taking the lead on making changes in our world on what they feel are important safety choices,” Kessler said. “The kids in 1899 were standing up for themselves and all the kids in New York at the time that were being treated unfairly.”
Kessler said this particular production of “Newsies” was also special, as Curtain Call has hired Thayne Jasperson from the original Broadway cast of “Newsies” to work as guest choreographer with the student performers on the numbers “Carrying the Banner” and “Seize the Day.”
Kessler said Jasperson’s lessons introduce a strong level of professionalism and work ethic to her students, as well as lessons in humility.
“Because he’s so nice and humble, they learn that you can be down to earth and kind while still being tremendously successful, all without being a diva,” Kessler said.
Jasperson, who played Darcy/JoJo in “Newsies The Musical” and currently performs as Samuel Seabury in “Hamilton: An American Musical” on Broadway, echoed Kessler when he said he wants the students to have a professional experience, while also offering them as much of his knowledge as possible from his years in theater.
“I love getting to work with local, regional groups,” Jasperson said. “I get to see their ambition and their excitement over getting to work with someone who is a Broadway performer. They love that, and it’s fun for me.”
Jasperson said the opportunity also allows him to provide students with a level of knowledge and experience that wasn’t offered to him when he was young.
“When the kids are aspiring to be on Broadway, to have somebody come in and say ‘this is what it’s like,’ and to give them a taste of the real thing — it’s really cool,” Jasperson said.
As far as planning the choreography of Curtain Call’s upcoming production of “Newsies,” Jasperson said he didn’t want to replicate choreography from the Broadway show.
“I chose a few small, specific moments where the kids can feel like they’re doing it the same way it was done on Broadway, but I like to make sure most of it is … a different experience for them and for me,” Jasperson said. “It’s more fulfilling to get to create new work that can be inspired by something I did and love.”
Curtain Call Performing Arts Center’s production of “Newsies” debuts on June 28 at 7 p.m. at Harrington Middle School, with repeat performances on June 29 at 7 p.m. and June 30 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets will be available before performances at the door for $12, but those who order online in advance can pay just $10.
To order online, visit www.showtix4u.com and search “Curtain Call.”
Those interested in learning more about Jasperson can follow him on Instagram at @ThayneJasperson.