Ryan Pringle ’25 Staff Writer

A Review of Cue and Curtain’s ‘Newsies’ Performance

During the beginning of April, I had the good fortune of being able to attend the stage play of Newsies, performed by Immaculata University’s very own Cue and Curtain!  I went in unsure what to expect, but found myself blown away by the sheer quality of the performance.  I found Newsies so great in fact, that I actually saw it twice!  So, without further ado, here is my review of Newsies!

After an extended absence due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Immaculata University’s theater club, Cue and Curtain, was ready to resume its normal functions and make a terrific comeback.  After a brief stage play in the fall 2022 semester, Cue and Curtain was ready to produce a full-blown theatrical production.  And what better candidate for a comeback than the Disney musical Newsies?  With a new crop of freshman students, alongside more experienced veterans from past productions, Cue and Curtain had the skill and manpower needed to put on a great performance.  Only time would tell if their efforts would pay off.

Opening Night:

I must admit, the phrase “college play” does not elicit very much excitement within me, and as such I did not initially intend to go see Newsies.  However, after a friend of mine encouraged me to give it a try, I hesitantly signed up for a ticket to the 7 PM showing on Friday, March 31st, the opening night.  And when that night came, I, alongside countless other students, staff, and family were ushered into the theater in Alumnae Hall, and I briefly awed at just how packed it was.  Once in the theater, I joined up with another one of my friends, and together we sat down in the left front row, from which we had an excellent view of the stage.

There was much chatter among the musicians below the stage, surely in anticipation of finally presenting the fruit of a month’s labor.  And as the lights began to dim, and the sweet sounds of music erupted forth into the theater, it was almost as if an enchantment had been placed upon me, as I felt my excitement for the imminent show continue to rise.  Then the red curtains parted, and I was introduced to the world of late 1890s New York City, and the characters of Jack Kelly, portrayed by Luke Biely, and his trusty friend Crutchie, portrayed by Emily Reid.  Almost immediately, the music swelled, and the two visible actors broke out in song with a rendition of “Santa Fe”.

After this introduction, all the newsies came on stage, and we got a glance into their lives.  Life was tough for working kids in New York City, with even the middlemen of society causing trouble for our protagonists.  The slimy Weisel, portrayed by Tim Tomlinson, and the thuggish Delancey brothers, portrayed by Jason Getchell and Connor Pearson, really helped to immerse me into the aesthetics of that forlorn era.  Soon enough the audience was introduced to even more characters, in the form of the prospective newsie Davie, portrayed by John Schuyler, and his little brother Les, portrayed by Grace Wright.  Personally, I found their performances to be some of the most convincing in the entire play, which is certainly helped by the fact that from a distance, they look as if they could really be siblings.

Of course, no story is complete without a good villain, and we are soon introduced to the newspaper mogul Joseph Pulitzer, portrayed by Aiden Curry, who cares for profit above all else, as indicated by his sinister yet charming song “The Bottom Line”.  Curry’s personality is not what comes to my mind when I think of gilded age tycoons, but his performance brings a never before seen interpretation of that character, which I think meshes quite well with the rest of the play.  And rounding out our main cast is Jack Kelly’s love interest Katherine, portrayed beautifully by Emma Allee.  

It didn’t take long for me to become fully invested in the story, and by the time intermission came along, I didn’t want the play to stop for a single second.  Act two of Newsies immediately tugs on your heartstrings, with Crutchie’s solo song “Letter from the Refuge ”, and later on, with Jack and Katherine’s duet “Something to Believe In”.  And finally, the play ended in an epic climax, featuring the surprise appearance of Theodore Roosevelt, charismatically portrayed by Alex Poli.  His appearance in particular elicited many laughs, cheers, and applause from the audience, almost as if the real Roosevelt had stepped on stage.

With the story finished, all the actors and crew members came on stage to bow, and were warmly received, with the theater erupting in thunderous applause.  Afterwards, they made their way into the crowd to receive even more congratulations.  I must say that there was something more heartfelt with this moment, as I got to compliment my peers, including some of my close friends, on their wonderful performances.  And in response, they only had one question.  Was I coming to see them tomorrow?

A Second Viewing:

Looking back, the question of whether or not I was going to see Newsies again was never in doubt.  What I saw had gone beyond my wildest expectations, and I was excited to relive that experience.  So, the following day at 2 PM, I returned to Alumnae Hall, and sat down in the front right row, eagerly awaiting a repeat performance.  Naturally, most of the play was identical to the version I had witnessed the prior night, with a few notable exceptions.  Several of the main characters were portrayed by different actors, who each brought their own interpretation to the play.  Instead of Emily Reid, the character of Crutchie was played by Maddie Balko, who brought a somewhat scrappier persona to the stage.  Instead of Grace Wright, the character of Les was portrayed by Helena Grace, who seemed to bring a more innocent personality to the role.  And most noticeably, instead of Emma Allee, the character of Katherine was portrayed by Ellie Loose, who added a level of spunk to the character, while still maintaining a sense of elegance.  When the play wrapped up later that evening, my applause was just as loud as it had been the night before.

An Exclusive Interview with the Cast and Crew:

In addition to my review, I had the good fortune of being able to interview some of the talented cast and crew responsible for this production.

Ryan Pringle: What got you interested in Cue and Curtain?

Diana Geditz: I’ve always been a creative person, and I was involved in theater prior to coming to IU, so I wanted to participate in Cue and Curtain no matter what the show would be.

Molly Clancy: I was also a theater kid in school, and I knew Cue and Curtain was starting back up again after COVID, and I wanted to be involved.

Ryan: How was it decided which characters you would play?

Diana & Molly: We went in a week before rehearsals to practice our dancing and test our skills before auditions; if people wanted to play a lead role, then they had specialized auditions.  Decisions were made based on these auditions.

Aiden Curry: My experience was a bit different because I had major conflicts regarding rehearsal schedules, so I ended up playing Pulitzer due to uncertainty regarding other roles that were on the table.  

Ryan: What kind of preparation/practice did you have to do for your part in the play?

Diana: We had to memorize lines as soon as possible (2 weeks for most of us), and build a character/personality, alongside learning the songs.

Molly: I was more of a background character, so I focused on learning dances and choreography, as well as the songs.  I also did a bit of character development to make it more fun for myself.

Gina Rufo: I am very lucky, as I got to meet with Sister Kathleen every week and got help learning the song I was singing.  It was important to get extra experience since I had one of the major solos.  We spent so much more time rehearsing the big scenes, so nobody heard my song till closer toward the end of production.

Ryan: What was it like being one of the major supporting characters?

Aiden: It was nice to bring things together toward the end as I got to interact more with the rest of the cast.  I liked hamming up the maniacal villain, and it was awesome to see how everything else fit together since I was “out of the loop”.

Gina: Being Medda Larkin gave me the opportunity to be one of the main cast members and experience rehearsals with the other leads, but I also had a lot of time to spend with the newsies backstage. I think the leads had among the most backstage time out of everyone.

Ryan: What was the atmosphere like behind the scenes?

Diana: It depended, sometimes people were in a good mood and everything flowed smoothly, but sometimes when practice was late it made things more difficult for everyone.

Molly: It was a really great experience overall, and it gave me a chance to make a lot of new friends, and people were very supportive.

Ryan: Which character was your favorite to portray?

Diana: I’d say it’s a tie between Darcy and Jacobi.

Bridget Cooper: The Nuns were so iconic, so I would have to go with them.

Ryan: How about a comment from the stage crew?

Emma Philbin: It was stressful work backstage as there were only four of us, and we didn’t get the set in until two weeks beforehand.  To complicate things further, we had to deconstruct parts of it for Accepted Students Day.  There were also some shake-ups in leadership near the end, and we ran through the show twice beforehand to practice. It was both terrifying and exhilarating.  Everyone was dancing behind the scenes and it was nice to be a part of everything.

Gina: There is a whole other world behind the stage, but you still develop a bond with how much time you spend with people.

Aiden: Pulitzer’s table was difficult to get through the curtains in time, since the curtains were not wide enough to fit it in cleanly, requiring some maneuvering on our part.  We only ever had one person at a time to direct it, so I had to assist pushing the table as I was going off stage.

Emma: I got caught in the curtains so many times.

Aiden: Yeah, we really needed the stage crew.

Ryan: Is there anything you would like to see Cue and Curtain do in the future?

Diana: Since we are a small group that limits our options a bit.  I would like to see more musicals, but a non-musical play would also be good like “The Play that goes wrong”.

Molly: I have so many different ideas.  We were talking about this one day during practice, and I would like to see “Anything Goes”, but I also love “Into the Woods”.

Bridget: “Legally Blond” is a must in my opinion.

Aiden: I’d like to see “Legally Blond” as well, but there are honestly so many shows we could do.  Ideally something with less dancing.

Emma: I’m partial to “Grease”.

Gina: Just one word – “Anastasia”.

Aiden: That would be amazing!

Everyone: Yeah, “Anastasia” would be awesome!


I would like to thank a number of people, without whom this article could not have been written.  Natalie Hornberger, a member of the cast, for encouraging me to attend; Nicole DeOrzio, an avid fan, for accompanying me to the first showing, and Abigail Yarrison, another cast member, for suggesting I write about the play.  And finally, I would like to thank all the cast and crew members who graciously agreed to be interviewed (Diana Geditz, Molly Clancy, Aiden Curry, Gina Rufo, Bridget Cooper, and Emma Philbin).  I look forward to whatever Cue and Curtain has in store for the future!