Behind the Scenes at Hawaii Children’s Theatre

A talk with “Newsies” Director, Rebecca Hanson

What inspired you to direct ‘Newsies’? The musical is adapted from the Disney film, which I really enjoyed growing up. There is a LOT of dancing and great songs telling the story.

What is the show ‘Newsies’ about?
The “Newsies” are a group of orphans who make a living in 1899 New York City selling newspapers. When distribution prices are raised at the newsboys’ expense, Jack Kelly rallies newsies
from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right! This marked the start of child labor laws and unions.
How does the show relate to Kauai kids?
Our keiki will recognize the friendships they see on stage, as well as coming together as a community for a common goal.

What is it like directing a show where kids and adults perform together?
Adults acting with children set the example and model acting processes and rehearsal etiquette. They help support our young performers who aim to reach the level of our experienced adults. All 50 actors are dedicated to putting on a fantastic show.

Who helps behind the scenes to make it a success?
There is a full team of experts supporting the production – music, lights, sound, projections, sets, costumes, hair and makeup, props, stage management, crew and parent volunteers. It is an amazing example of teamwork.

What is your favorite part of directing a show like this for HCT?
Hawaii Children’s Theatre is well-established in the Kauai community and my students continually share their stories of learning and enjoyment of these programs. Several have told me that theater and HCT is the first place where they are truly able to be themselves. The best part of the process is seeing kids grow as individuals, making friends, and feeling confident in who they are and the skills they are learning.

For more information about “Newsies” performances, visit hawaiichildrenstheatre.org