Miss A Columnist

From porch swinging on Sunday afternoons, to researching the roots of her hometown, to ordering her tofu fried, Rachel Parker is proud to be a southern girl. Homegrown in beautiful Tennessee, Rachel has worked for the past seven years as a professional dancer in various theaters along the east coast and visited over 25 countries as a performer with Princess Cruise Line Productions. Graduating from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a B.A. in English, emphasis in Creative Writing, she is currently writing and editing for a variety of freelance projects. Rachel loves Nashville’s beautifully eclectic art, music, and theater scene, as well as its deep appreciation for history through touring exhibitions and preservation of historic buildings.

NEWSIES Debuts At The Tennessee Performing Arts Center

The Tony Award-winning, fresh from Broadway, smash hit of a musical NEWSIES debuted Tuesday, May 26 to an

Photo Credit: Newsies Broadway Tour

Photo Credit: Newsies Broadway Tour

enthusiastic and packed house at Nashville’s Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  This super fun new American musical will run in Andrew Jackson Hall through Sunday, May 31, 2015.

NEWSIES is directed by Tony Award nominee, Jeff Calhoun, and produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.  The musical features a Tony Award-winning score by the eight-time Academy Award winning composer Alan Menken, with lyrics by Jack Feldman. Book is by four-time Tony Award winner, Harvey Fierstein and choreography is by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli . . . all that to say, the show is extremely well constructed with all elements joining to create a fantastic and family friendly musical experience.

Inspired by the true story of the “Newsboy Strike of 1899,” the musical is set in New York City and tells the story of Jack Kelly and his ragtag team of teenaged “newies.” After publishing tycoons Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices for the the newsboys, Jack rallies the newsies to strike.

Dan DeLuca is fantastic as the charismatic, rough around the edges, Kelly, rising to the occasion of his great moments, such as with the heartfelt song, “Santa Fe.”

DeLuca has dreamy chemistry with actress Stephanie Styles, who plays determined and sassy news reporter, Katherine.  Styles, a wonderful performer, also has many great moments in which she shines, such as in the song, “Watch What Happens.”

Actor Zachary Sayle, who plays newsie Crutchie, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his life as a performer and member of the NEWSIES cast.

Photo Credit: Newsies Broadway Tour

Photo Credit: Newsies Broadway Tour

1. When and how did your performing career and passion for theater begin?

I initially began performing with a local boys choir (Birmingham Boys Choir) in the town I grew up in near Birmingham, AL when I was about 8. I enjoyed it a lot, but I wouldn’t say it started out as a passion. I had always loved to sing, and the performing arts had always been around when I was growing up (my mother owns a dance studio and my father has a degree in vocal performance).  I liked singing in the choir, but it wasn’t until I first started doing community theatre when I was about 10 years old that I really found my passion. One of the teachers who worked for my mom was choreographing a local production of A Christmas Carol, and they needed someone to play Tiny Tim. I auditioned and ending up getting it, and from the moment rehearsals started I was hooked. I fell in love with the process of putting a show together as well as the actual performance aspect. After that, I continued to do lots of local community theatre, but it wasn’t long before I wanted to aim higher. I managed to find a listing for an open call for the Asian Tour of The Sound of Music going on in NYC. I convinced my parents to take me to the audition, them deciding it would be a good lesson in rejection. That didn’t totally work out for them, as I ended up booking it and traveling Asia with a touring musical at the age of 11. After that, there was no way I was going back to community theatre in Alabama. I kept pursuing professional musical theatre, and eventually started living by myself in NYC at the age of 16. I’m 18 now, and having the time of my life with Newsies!

2. Why do you believe NEWSIES continues to grow in popularity since it’s opening in March of 2012?

I think there’s something for everyone in NEWSIES. There’s fantastic dancing, amazing songs and music, and a story that is very interesting and unique . . . The fact that these kids faced so many odds to fight for their rights and won is really empowering. And now that the show is touring, it’s being introduced to so many new people who didn’t get to see it on Broadway, helping the fan base to grow.

3. What is your favorite part of playing the role of Crutchie?

I love Crutchie’s outlook on life. He stays so positive throughout so many negative things. Despite the fact that he is handicapped, is homeless, and is an orphan, he still manages to look at the world optimistically. I think that’s why he’s the favorite newsie of many of the fans. He’s a wonderful role model to look up to, and shows that just because your circumstances are bad doesn’t mean that you have a be a sad person. He finds the good in everything and everyone.

4. As a performer, what do you hope the audience will take away from this production?

I think the most amazing thing about this musical is the way it inspires people. I’ve had countless people at stage doors across the country tell me that the show has changed their lives. Whether it inspired a boy to start taking dance classes because of the amazing choreography, or made a kid decide to stand up to their bully because they’re tired of being pushed around just like the Newsies were, the show has a profound effect on so many people. I really think that the most amazing thing that a story can do is cause someone to see the world differently, and Newsies has done that for many people.

Photo Credit: Newsies Broadway Tour

Photo Credit: Newsies Broadway Tour

WHEN: now – Sunday, May 31, 2015


Andrew Jackson Hall: Tennessee Performing Arts Center
505 Deaderick St.
Nashville, TN 37219
Ph. 615-782-4040
TICKETS: Please click here for tickets.



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