MT. VERNON — Catch students on stage and on strike as the musical Newsies opens Thursday night and continues through Sunday.

Rick Barber, Mt. Vernon High School theater director, has been directing for the last year and a half with this being the first time working with the 1992 Disney musical at the high school level.

Barber said he personally liked to choose musicals that involved many roles for boys as well as girls when looking at musical options to develop a program that allows equal opportunity for boys to get involved.

“I was pleasantly surprised actually with the 20 plus boys we had in attendance for additions,” Barber said.

Out of the 20 boys who auditioned, 18 were casted in the musical along with 20 girls. Stage crew has a fairly equal number of boys and girls with approximately 30 students working behind the scenes and helping. The cast even had three middle school students with two being leads.

Students have practiced since Aug. 25 and had three dress rehearsals before opening night.

“It builds confidence for them… to find a place to fit in,” Barber said.

Senior Elijah Borgman has been involved in theater since his freshman year and wanted to be involved because Newsies is his all-time favorite musical. Borgman also said the character Jack Kelly is a role he’s always looked up to because of the differences he sees in real life.

“I thought that it would be really fun to see how well I can act as a completely different personality,” Borgman said.

Borgman said one thing he is looking forward to is his mom being able to see him on stage because of how much she has enjoyed hearing him practice.

Myranda Groce is also a senior and plays Kathernine Plumber. Groce said that while this is her first musical, she has always enjoyed signing and theatre.

“It’s a hard role but I’m so grateful they’ve given me the opportunity to try and act it out,” Groce said.

Groce said that during the last months she has had to practice the character’s vocals with the help of the vocal director, Mrs. Anderson, and has had the support of friends and cast members along the way.

An hour before the 2 p.m. performance on Nov. 4, members of the 65+ Club can visit a cookies and punch reception to discuss the Mt. Vernon community and get door prizes and a discounted ticket for the performance following the reception. Seniors living in the district can become a part of the group by showing the administration office a valid ID and a bill that verifies a district address, which would also allow them to get free and discounted tickets for many but not all future Mt. Vernon events.

Performances will start at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Two shows will take place Saturday, the first being at 2 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m. The last show to see will be 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets purchased online will be $16 for adults and $12 for kids 18 and younger. At the door tickets will go for $20 an adult and $15 for kids 18 and younger.

Barber said he is looking forward to seeing the students grow in their craft, gain as much confidence as possible with the upcoming shows and to just have fun.

“…That they have enjoyed Newsies so much, they have taken it and I think because they are familiar with the show they have made it their own,” Barber said.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit