Del Norte Theatre's ‘Newsies’ hits a home run

Photo courtesy of Tracy Madrid and Nikki Horrocks Del Norte High School Theatre hit a home run this past weekend with its ‘Newsies’ production. A year and a half in the making, the local production of the Disney Broadway play finally hit the stage.

DEL NORTE — After a year and a half of planning, Del Norte High School Theatre was finally able to take all its talent and set it out on the stage for hundreds of spectators to see over the weekend.

After moments of frustration and disappointment, students and teacher Bill Sauvigne decided that the show must go on.

“It has been a long road, we have been working on the ‘Newsies’ production for a year and half now and we had even reached a point where we didn’t think we could do it, but we pulled it together and I was so proud,” Sauvigne said.

According to Sauvigne, the Disney production was something the students in the theatre class had looked forward to for some time and were not going to let COVID-19 ruin their plans. Even the company that issues the script for the famous Disney Broadway musical gave the district more time.

“They just told us to keep the scripts and to return them when we were done. They never do that under any circumstances. It was an amazing gesture and one we took advantage of,” said Sauvigne.

Students working on the production came and went throughout the year and a half it took to get the play on the stage of the new school either graduating or shifting from in-person learning to online learning.

“We had seniors graduate and leave the production and some left for other reasons, but I was amazed to see that some stayed on from the beginning and we had a great turn out of seventh-graders. Every single one of them busted their butts to make this happen and it showed,” Sauvigne said.

This production was the class’s first true musical and the students had a blast putting on the show.

“We did our best to make it true to the Broadway style it was meant to be, and the students did a great job and everyone in the class learned that theatre isn’t just acting, its lighting, scenery, sound and so much more. There is something for everyone which is great,” Sauvigne said.

Sauvigne has always advocated for theatre in the school and hopes to keep introducing more and more students to the magical world of theatre well into the future.

“I am a big advocate for sports in any school, but sports are not for everyone,” Sauvigne said. “In some cases, theatre is another student’s sport and I think it should be considered just as important as other opportunities in a district. I had students who didn’t want to be on stage but ended up working the props or the lighting and having the time of their lives. It's not always all about the acting.”

The production had between 15 and 20 set changes with a cast of 36 students. All the students helped create the sets, work with lights and sound as well as learn their lines. Both nights of the play the auditorium was packed.

According to Sauvigne the first night they had about 130 spectators and over 100 the second night.

“We are used to 30, 40 people coming. We had so many more than that and it was amazing,” he said.

Now that the “Newsies” production is a wrap, Sauvigne is already planning for next year and hopes to do a comedy, a drama and another musical if all goes well.