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EA Welcomes First Post-Pandemic Musical

By Kristen Keleschenyi
The Tube City Almanac
March 29, 2022
Posted in: Entertainment, North Versailles Twp. News

Nora Keleschenyi (Katherine), Austin Phelan (Bill), Colby Miller (Jack Kelly), and Kason Sciullo (Romeo) rehearse a scene from the musical “Newsies.” (Kristen Keleschenyi photo special to Tube City Almanac)

If you go...



Where: East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School, 1150 Jacks Run Rd, North Versailles, PA 15137

When: April 7–9 with shows each night at 7:30 p.m. along with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 9.

Tickets: easd.Booktix.com.

Disney’s “Newsies” will mark the first “post-pandemic” musical performance at East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School. It has been an interesting journey these past two years to raise the curtain on spring musicals.

“Awesome 80’s Prom,” a play adapted to include musical vignettes, was performed in the outdoor court of the junior-senior high school in April of 2021.

“A Pirate’s Tale,” the show originally planned for 2020 but was cancelled, was performed just a few months after Prom with masks required and auditorium seating in every other row.  (Many of the students who were originally cast in “A Pirate’s Tale” returned for the show including a number of 2021 graduates.)

Musical director Amanda Rosco wasn’t sure how things were going to play out when she held auditions back in November. But now with opening night getting closer, she says it is a relief to know Newsies is going to be a “normal” show. “When they lifted the mask mandate,  we knew we didn’t have to perform in masks and that wasn’t going to be a thing anymore. It’s great to see the kids bouncing back.”

“Newsies” is a musical about the 1899 newsboys strike in New York City. Rosco explains, “This is about young people taking a stand and finding their voice in the world and that’s kind of where our kids are right now too. They’re coming out of a pandemic and they’re trying to figure out who they are going to be in a post-pandemic world.”

From left, Colby Miller (Jack Kelly), Connor Geary (Davey), Nolan Keleschenyi (Les), Passion Paillett (Crutchie) and Dominique Bannister (Finch) are ready to let the world know they are prepared to strike. (Kristen Keleschenyi photo special to Tube City Almanac)

The nature of the show presented an opportunity to include elementary school students for the first time since EA performed “Once On This Island” back in 2018. As many music programs are trying to rebuild after the pandemic, “Newsies” is a chance to create more connectivity between East Allegheny’s elementary school and the junior-senior high.

Riley Dolton, a fourth grader at Logan Elementary School says being in a musical has been her dream. She loves to sing and says she gets her voice from her dad. Riley plays one of the newsies and cannot wait for opening night.

“I am excited to see my parents and friends because I have told them a lot about this and how they can get tickets. They want to come and support me.”

Connor Geary is a senior and plays the role of Davey. This is his fourth show at East Allegheny and he is overwhelmed by the talent of his fellow cast members, some of whom are upperclassmen doing their very first musical.

“[Because of the pandemic] We haven’t been able to recruit kids. This year we have a bunch of new 9th and 10th graders who are amazing, something I never expected to see my senior year.”

“Newsies” runs April 7–9 with shows each night at 7:30 p.m. along with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 9. Tickets are available at easd.Booktix.com.

Kristen Keleschenyi is a freelance writer in North Versailles Twp. and one of the hosts of the Kristen & Amber Show on Tube City Online Radio at 5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays. She may be reached at kbishop25@hotmail.com.

Originally published March 29, 2022.

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