Extra, extra: High-kicking ‘Newsies’ arrives on Everett stage

Everett’s Lukas Poischbeg, featured in posters for the show, is excited to perform in his hometown.

Lukas Poischbeg

Lukas Poischbeg

If you’ve seen the posters for Village Theatre’s “Newsies,” then you’re already familiar with Lukas Poischbeg and his high kick.

Poischbeg, a recent Everett High School and Everett Community College graduate, is featured in all the marketing for the show, which opens Friday in Everett.

“Let me tell you, it still amazes me every time I see myself on a bus or see someone holding a program outside of the theater,” said Poischbeg, who plays one of about a dozen newsboys. “I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity, and am even more thankful that I get to represent in photos the energy and power we are performing on stage.”

The musical, based on the 1992 Disney film by the same name, was inspired by the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City.

The two-week strike forced newspaper barons Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst to better compensate the newsboys who sold their papers.

“Newsies” won two Tony awards for its original score and choreography. Now, just five years after the start of its Broadway run, Village Theatre brings the hit musical to the local stage.

The musical tells the story of Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy whose dream is to be an artist away from the big city. After Pulitzer raises the price of a bundle of 100 newspapers by 10 cents at the newsboys’ expense, Kelly becomes the leader of a strike.

The most notable difference with the 1992 film is that the characters of Sarah Jacobs (Davey and Les’s sister and Jack’s original love interest) and the New York Sun reporter Brian Denton who helps the newsies are replaced in the musical by the composite character Katherine Plumber.

Most of the original songs remain — just try to stop yourself from joining in on “Seize the Day,” “The World Will Know” and “King of New York” — although they were rewritten to fit the change in story line. The musical also has several new numbers, including “Brooklyn’s Here” and “Something To Believe In.”

Village’s set, sound, lighting costumes and orchestra are all first-rate, but it’s the choreography that leaves you awestruck. A shout-out goes to choreographer Katy Tabbs for her work with the newsies: They leap, tumble and tap; they do flips, handsprings and pirouettes; they swing, clamber and climb. It is absolutely dazzling. A favorite number is where the boys slide, turn and scoot around on newspaper pages.

Poischbeg, 18, makes his Village Theatre debut as Buttons, one of Jack’s fellow newsies. He has performed in more than 10 productions, worked as a choreographer and technician for several others, and trained with The Studios, Westlake Dance Center, ARC School of Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Village Theatre’s Kidstage.

In addition to being an actor, dancer and singer, Poischbeg is a freelance choreographer, theater instructor and audio engineer. A junior at the University of Washington, he is double-majoring in dance and education.

Poischbeg is joined by the star of “Newsies” first national tour, some of Village Theatre’s favorite actors and an incredible group of singers and dancers from around the region.

The cast includes Joey Barreiro as head newsie Jack Kelly (he’s back in the role after touring the U.S. as a replacement in 2014); Greg Stone as newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer, Michael Krenning as Crutchie, Jack’s best friend; Taylor Niemeyer as crusading reporter Katherine; Mike Spee as the intelligent Davey; Marlette Buchanan as stage manager Medda Larkin; and Guthrie Bettinger as the adorable Les, Davey’s kid brother.

Poischbeg was injured two weeks after “Newsies” opened in Issaquah. He fractured a bone in his foot during technical rehearsals for the musical. After four weeks on standby so his foot could heal, Poischbeg is back to his high kicks.

“I am so happy to be back in the show,” Poischbeg said, “and even more excited to be ‘carrying the banner’ in my hometown.”

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

“Newsies”

The Village Theatre production runs Jan. 5 through Feb. 4 at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, call 425-257-8600 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.

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