The cast of Ada High’s production of Newsies perform “The World Will Know” from the original Broadway Musical. (Photo: Catamount Yearbook Staff)
The cast of Ada High’s production of Newsies perform “The World Will Know” from the original Broadway Musical.

Photo: Catamount Yearbook Staff

The World Will Know

March 4, 2021

Macy Neal and James Barrett - Pontotoc Technology Center

The irony was not lost this year when it came to the Ada High performing arts production of Newsies. A group of kids trying to tell a story in the face of adversity… a story about a group of kids trying to tell their own stories in the face of adversity.

The cast was determined that as the song from the musical proclaimed, “The World Will Know.” They got their second chance nearly two months later when Newsies re-opened for a final one weekend run.


Newsies cast takes new approach

Performing arts teacher Merrie Palmer had her work cut out for her this year. She did not want to sacrifice this year’s musical, but she needed something that could be adapted to be COVID friendly. Newsies fit that bill and also seemed to Palmer to be a good tie in to modern events.

“I felt like it was perfect time to tell this story,” Palmer said. “This was a story about the under-represented finding their voice, stepping up and demanding a change. I wanted these kids to see that the Newsboys strike of 1899 was an example of how children really could illicit real and lasting change when they work together.”

To meet COVID guidelines, masks were worn during all practices and rehearsals, staging and choreography were planned to spread singers apart on stage, dressing rooms were shut down and even romantic scenes were modified. Despite all her best planning, Palmer and her cast could not escape COVID.

Pullquote Photo

“I thought I had lost this lead role my senior year, but we ended up bouncing back and doing the show later in the year, which I am so grateful for.”

— Justin Sampson

The week Newsies was set to debut began with one of the leads in quarantine and ended with the play being shut down completely. Senior Justin Sampson saw his final performance slipping away.

“I thought I had lost this lead role my senior year, but we ended up bouncing back and doing the show later in the year, which I am so grateful for.”

Two months after the shut down, the Newsies cast was back on the stage for their final performances, which were completely sold out.

“The two weeks leading up to that moment had been quiet, as if everyone was holding his or her breath just waiting for us to be shut down again,” Palmer said. “The kids were scared to get excited, scared to hope that this would work. But that moment just before show, we met together and I told them we had made it. Whatever else happened after that day, we had learned we couldn’t control. But that moment was ours. We knew we had the next two hours, so we were going to own them and do what we loved.”


Photo: Tina Davis

Newsies film premier invitation created by Pontotoc Technology Center Students.

Newsies cast attend red carpet premier

Nathan Graves and Jack Maricle - Pontotoc Technology Center

Although their shows were interrupted by COVID-19 and split months apart, the cast of Ada High’s production of Newsies was able to end with the royal treatment. Pontotoc Technology Center (PTC) IT students led by teacher Tina Davis threw a red carpet premier of their filmed production of Newsies the Musical starring the Ada High performing arts cast.

“I think a lot of memories were made,” Davis said.

PTC students filmed multiple dress rehearsals and edited the footage into a two hour feature length film. The cast was invited to dress in their finest and attend a red carpet event hosted on the PTC campus.



Photo: Catamount Yearbook Staff

The cast of Newsies performs the finale of the show during the Newsies Square scene.

Newsies Cast List

The full Newsies cast list includes:

  • Brady McComas – Jack Kelly
  • James Barrett – Jack Kely Understudy/Race
  • Lizzie Jones – Katherine/Henry
  • Gabby Carlson – Katherine/Henry
  • Ky Miller – Crutchie
  • Kira Lindsey – Specs/Crutchie Understudy
  • Justin Sampson – Davey
  • Gage Beam – Davey
  • Dedar Thomas – Les
  • Dillon Maxwell – Les
  • Madison Hoover – Finch
  • Trey Wilson – Albert/Nunzio
  • Raheim Hill-Wedlow – Romeo
  • Elliott Riden – Elmer
  • Chandler Peters – Mush
  • Brailey Bush – Buttons
  • Macy Lowrance – Splasher
  • Taylor Piette – Tommy Boy
  • Sydney Moody – JoJo/Scab
  • Makayla McLean – Scab
  • Lincoln Smith – Scab
  • Sereniti Daniels – Spot Conlon
  • Andrew Mitchell – Darcy
  • Logan Armstrong – Bill
  • Daniel Bronnenberg – Wiesel
  • James Smith – Morris Delancey
  • Troy Linton – Oscar Delancey
  • Blake Fredricks – Goon/Seitz/Mayor
  • Patrick Harrison – Goon/Guard
  • Eric Pugh – Goon
  • Courtland Teel – Pulitzer
  • David Garner – Bunsen
  • Alexis Bond – Hannah
  • Ali Byers – Policeman
  • Martin Hill – Snyder
  • Rylee Marshall – Medda Larkin
  • Rebekah Peters – Nun/Newsie/Medda Larkin Understudy
  • Mayme McClure – Bowery Beautie/Newsie
  • Emily Kemp – Bowery Beautie/Newsie
  • Caroline Bagwell – Bowery Beautie/Newsie
  • Ella Thompson – Bowery Beautie/Newsie
  • Ava Bolin – Nun/Newsie
  • Peri Thomas – Nun/Newsie
  • Kayra Roe – Mrs. Jacobi
  • Annlee Baltimore – Newsie
  • Jamie Davis – Governor Teddy Roosevelt
  • Teron Casey – Dance Core Newsie
  • Graycee McDonohugh – Newsie
  • Betni Gould – Newsie
  • Adeline Marshall – Newsie
  • Benjamin Berry – Newsie
  • Taye Daniels – Newsie
  • Grace Durham – Newsie

Newsies Staff:

  • Merrie Palmer – Director
  • Musical Director – Micah Gordon
  • Choreographer – Natalie Jack
  • Technical Director – Martin Hill
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