Civic Theatre delivers ‘Newsies’ at The Tarkington

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Johnny Miller has a special fondness for “Newsies,” so naturally he delighted to be part of the cast.

“This is one of my favorite shows of all time with such an amazing cast,” Miller said. “I can’t wait for opening night. I can’t wait for the people to come see it. I can’t find anything I don’t like. I’ve listened to it quite a few times.”

Miller, a Park Tudor High School junior and Carmel resident, plays Buttons in “Newsies,” which Civic Theatre presents April 26 to May 11 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The musical is based on the Disney film.

Jake Letts, a Carmel High School graduate and a Ball State student, plays the lead role of Jack Kelly.

Kelly is the charismatic leader of the newsboys and helps lead a strike when New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer raises the price the newsboys must pay to buy the newspapers from the distribution centers. It is loosely based on New York City newsboys’ strike of 1899.

Miller has acted in the Civic’s summer program, but this is his first main stage show with Civic.

“I’m a singer who happens to move,” Miller said. “I’m definitely in the ensemble, but I kind of do a little bit of everything. Anne Beck, our choreographer, keeps me busy. I have so much fun, it overshadows any problems.”

Miller said he became interested in musical theater a couple of years ago.

“It was my sister who first showed me this show,” Miller said.  “That was my entry into really getting into the theater world. This show means something special to me, for sure.”

In Civic’s Young Artists Program, Miller appeared in “Grease” as Roger, one of the T Birds, in 2017 and played one of the gamblers in “Guys and Dolls.”

Carmel High School sophomore Emily Chrzanowski plays Les, a newsboy.

“I’ve seen the Disney movie and I’ve watched the Broadway stage version,” Chrzanowski said. “The music is amazing. I love the music. It so touching and the story is so beautiful. Even though it’s taken place over a century ago, it really resonates with today’s environment.”

Chrzanowski also performed in “Guys and Dolls” in 2018.  On Civic’s main stage in the 2017-18 season, Chrzanowski played Kate, the orphan, in “Annie” and was in the choir “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

“I love dancing, singing and acting, I love it all,” she said.

Emily Schaab, a Noblesville resident, is performing in her first show with Civic.

Schaab previously performed with Footlite Musicals and the old Theatre on the Square, which is now as The District Theatre.

Schaab plays several different roles.

“My main role is Hannah, a secretary,” she said. “I also play a nun, a bowery beauty and newsie named newbie.”

Schaab said she enjoys playing the mix of characters.

“I love the opportunity to play several different characters,” said Schaab, who is originally from New Palestine. “It’s been really fun for me.”

Schaab said she has seen the Broadway versions several times on Netflix.

“I really wanted to do a Civic show, so it was kismet that it was the right time. I auditioned and they put me where they needed me.”

For more, visit civictheatre.org.

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