News Flash! SAHS musical ready to take the stage

News Flash! SAHS musical ready to take the stage

Hannah Stelitano

As the first week of March is here, Shaler Area Performing Arts students are putting the finishing touches on this year’s spring musical, “Newsies”. The directors, the cast, stage crew, and pit are all excited to bring their hard work from these past two months to the stage  March 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12.

This year, a new directors were given the challenge to ensure the readiness of this show. Director Mrs. Jennifer Birch knows that everyone has put forth a great amount of effort into the preparation for these upcoming weekends. She herself has spent countless hours at rehearsals, ensuring the readiness of her directing and the students’ hard work.

“Witnessing the crew come together to make those flawless transitions, watching the dancers shine, seeing the cast act and hearing them sing, listening to the pit meld a dozen different instruments into one cohesive work of art – it blows me away every time. Everyone worked so hard and seeing that hard work become an interactive story-telling experience is real life magic,” Mrs. Birch said.

It is hard to realize how much time, dedication, and effort has been put into these shows. Every single person involved plays a crucial role to the production. From the countless hours the stage crew has spent building the extravagant set to the long rehearsals spent blocking out scenes, everyone involved knows they have put forth their best effort. Assistant director Mrs. Anne Loudon cannot wait for the show to make its debut on the stage.

“From top to bottom, every single person in this production has put forth great effort. The cast, pit, crew, adult directors, and student directors have given it their all. This is the first time in two years having a mask-free show where we can actually see people’s faces and I could not be more excited,” she said.

It’s been so wonderful to work with such hardworking students on such a challenging production. I am so proud of how far they have come from the beginning of rehearsals, and I know it will be an amazing show.

— Ms. Emily Yuretich

This is the first ‘normal’ performance to take the Shaler Area stage since COVID hit two years ago. The anticipation is building for everyone, considering how difficult it has been these past years singing through masks. Vocal director Ms. Emily Yuretich is certainly excited to hear the performance on the stage. She too has dedicated herself to the show, ensuring that the vocal lines are as good as they can be.

“It’s been so wonderful to work with such hardworking students on such a challenging production. I am so proud of how far they have come from the beginning of rehearsals, and I know it will be an amazing show,” she said.

This year, Ms. Sydney Widdersheim was brought in to help create beautiful choreography across the stage. With a large, talented dance ensemble this year, this could quite possibly be one of the best choreographed musicals Shaler has seen.

“I am so excited to finally have an audience for these kids to perform in front of. They have so much talent and have put in a ton of work. This show is truly going to be amazing and I am so happy that I could be a part of it this year,” Ms. Widdersheim said.

With the 1899 culture of “Newsies”, each costume has to be very specific. Luckily, Mrs. Kristen Paul helped create beautifully crafted costumes. She would bring her sewing machine to every rehearsal, helping to fix every detail of the costumes.

“I’ve had so much fun researching early 1900s fashion and going to every thrift store around searching for items. The green room has had spectacular parent and student support for this show, so I’m thankful for that,” Mrs. Paul said.

Student leadership is a huge focus in the Shaler Performing Arts program. This year, six student directors helped to direct this show. Every aspect of this show, blocking, choreography, vocal, green room, stage crew, booth, and pit, has been built up through student leaders, which adds another level of appreciation for the hard work everyone has put into this show.

“Helping to block this show has been one of my favorite  experiences that I’ve had in high school. It gave me a greater appreciation for the directors because their job isn’t as easy as it may look. I am so proud to have had a say in this show and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to express myself in new ways,” student blocking director Cassidy Laffey said.

The shows will run Friday March 4 and Saturday March 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday March 6 at 2 p.m. with shows the following Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at