—photos by Bryan Haeffele/Hearst Connecticut Media

The Clune Center auditorium will soon be flooded with newspapers, suspenders, song and dance as Wilton High School presents Disney’s “Newsies.”
The musical is based on the newsboys’ strike of 1899. After the price of newspapers rise for a publisher’s personal profit, the workers decide to take a stand.
Director Meredith Walker said after the show’s successful Broadway run a live stage version was recently filmed. She said she knew her students would be excited to perform the play after its recent success.
“It’s only recently become available to perform, so we knew we wanted to jump on the chance to do it now,” Walker said.
As part of the performance, a variety of roles are necessary. This provided an opportunity to show the range of the students’ talents.

“We were able to showcase our students in a variety of ways — singers, dancers, actors, tumblers, tappers,” Walker said. “It’s exciting to be able to share our students’ talents with the community.”
Walker said more preparation went into the play this year as compared to previous years. A tap workshop was held ahead of auditions to prepare students for their roles. Kathryn Luckstone, a Wilton High School theater alum, ran the workshops and did tap choreography for the show.
“We’ve also extended our rehearsal hours a bit,” Walker said. “Since there is so much music and choreography to learn, we really wanted to maximize our time.”

“Personally, I have always been a fan of this show, the original Disney movie and the Broadway musical,” Walker said.
Jack Parrotta is set to play the lead role as the charismatic newsboy Jack Kelly. Originally from Houston, Jack said he has long been involved with theater and musicals.
“I had a lot of great people around me in Texas and they were all involved in theater,” the Wilton High School junior said. “I got hooked instantly.”
To prepare for the role he watched the Broadway version of the show. Throughout last summer he started practicing the songs in the show and got additional vocal training outside of school.
“I’ve been in it since the beginning and it’s definitely paid off for me as well as everyone else,” he said.
Jack said before shows he does his vocal warm-ups and embraces the energy from his castmates.
“Just being with everybody on stage, there’s nothing like this show in terms of the ensemble,” Jack said. “I’m looking forward to the camaraderie the show brings forth on stage.”
Show times are 8 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, at 4 p.m. Tickets and information may be found at www.wiltonps.org .
dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com