The Coterie, The J team for ‘Newsies’

The Coterie and The White Theatre
at The J Announce
First Co-Production will be
the Hit Broadway Musical
Disney’s Newsies

Live on stage July 7th – 29th, 2018


Kansas City, MO – The Coterie Theatre and the White Theatre at “The J,” the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, will come together to co-produce Disney’s Newsies for a limited run in the Summer 2018. The show will mark The Coterie and The J’s first collaboration, as well as the Kansas City region’s first locally-produced production of Newsies. It will be co-directed by Coterie Producing Artistic Director, Jeff Church, and Jerry Jay Cranford, who will also serve as choreographer, with musical direction by Pam Williamson, veteran of 10 musicals at The J. Newsies will feature a cast of all-local professional and non-professional adult and youth actors, and will be performed live on stage at the White Theatre at The J, July 7-29, 2018.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies tells the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.

Newsies features music by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast,Aladdin, Sister Act), lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy). Originally written for the 1992 feature film musical, Menken’s stirring score is often credited for the cult following Newsies has developed since its initial release. The multiple Tony® Award-winning stage production of Newsies, which ran on Broadway from 2012-2014, adapts many of Menken’s memorable melodies, including “Carrying the Banner,” “King of New York,” “Santa Fe,” and “Seize the Day,” and expands the score with new songs that help tell the inspiring real-life story of the ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.

We are thrilled that The Coterie and The J have found the perfect piece to collaborate on. We’ve hit on the idea that this show will showcase each of our company’s strengths,” said Production Director Church. “The Coterie has long been dedicated to producing high-caliber professional productions of substantive plays, especially those with stories that address social issues or will challenge our young audiences. Combine that with The J’s long history of producing first-rate community productions of hit Broadway musicals in their state-of-the-art facility at The J’s White Theatre, and Newsies is the obvious choice for our first collaboration.

Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City Director of Art and Culture, Jonathan Jensen, said of the collaboration: “We hope by bringing the two companies together on Newsies, we’ll be able to give the show the passionate production it deserves, while also offering each organization the opportunity to introduce itself to a larger audience. When both parties discovered Disney had recently released the rights for regional productions and discussed the possibilities to collaborate with The Coterie, we immediately knew we had to ‘seize the day,’ as they say in the show.

The Coterie & The J’s production of Newsies will run approximately 120 minutes with one 15-minute intermission and is perfect for families with ages 5 and older.

Designated by TIME magazine in the top three theaters for young audiences in Nov. 2004 (“groundbreaking…one of the nation’s most respected”), The Coterie has been at the forefront of commissioning new works or adaptations that contribute to the field of theatre for young audiences. More than 50 world or American premieres for all ages have been produced by The Coterie over the last 25 years, during Artistic Director Jeff Church’s tenure, including hosting multiple major Broadway composers and lyricists to shape quality musicals for youth and families. The Coterie is interested in intergenerational conversation, and consistently includes teen programming in its season and outreach efforts. The Coterie’s community programming redefines traditional notions of work for young audiences with its unique dramatic writing programs, teen LGBTQ work, as well as its AIDS/STD education/prevention program, free of charge to 8,000 teens per year, overseen by Executive Director Joette Pelster and a dedicated staff. All these components serve an average of 80,000 per year through over 350 performances. The Coterie also offers acting classes year-round at multiple locations throughout greater Kansas City.

Established more than 100 years ago, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, “The J,” provides a warm welcome to families of all backgrounds. “The J’s” all-in-one hub for health, learning and well being elevates the lives of the lives of the community and its Members with programs of excellence in fitness, sports, theatre, cultural arts, senior adult programming and youth services including summer camps and child development. Everyone can live up at “The J,” located in Overland Park, Kansas, and

Auditions for professional and non-professional actors will be held Sunday, December 17, and Monday, December 18, 2017. Information about auditions will be available online at

Tickets for Disney’s Newsies will be $14 for youth and $25 for adults and will go on sale September 1, 2017. Tickets will be available online at, by phone at (913) 327-8054, or in person at The White Theatre Box Office, located at 5801 W 115th St, Leawood, KS 66211.


Newsies is based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White and was originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions. Newsies is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019. Phone: (212) 541-4684. Fax: (212) 397-4684.

Due to the nature of live theatre, play selection, performance schedule and casting are subject to change.

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