Westerville North High School thespians are gearing up to deliver "Newsies," a show inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City.

Show times are at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14, through Saturday, March 16, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17, in the school's auditorium, 950 County Line Road.

The musical is based on the 1992 musical film "Newsies," with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein.

"I chose this show because I thought it was a great fit for the plethora of talented boys we currently have in our department," said Kim Mollohan, director. "We are also blessed to have so many talented young ladies to grace the stage. I also love the fact that this musical was based on an actual historical event that took place in New York: the Newsboys Strike of 1899."

Mollohan said the music is as inspiring and uplifting as the story and the dancing is exciting to watch.

"There are 56 students in the cast, ranging in age from 9 to 18, and another 25 or more students working crew," she said. "Our set is made of scaffolding units assembled by our tech director, booster parents, cast and crew members."

There are more than 100 costumes in the show and stacks of vintage newspapers were created and printed for the production, according to Mollohan.

Senior Nick Martz takes on the lead role of Jack Kelly.

"Jack Kelly is a really cool character," he said.

"He's a 17-year-old newsboy who's in charge of the young band of newsies who go out every morning and sell papers. They don't make a lot of money, and he's the one who sort of rallies the troops when things in the show don't go their way and they feel their rights are stamped on."

Senior Zach Ryan, plays the role of 17-year-old Davey.

"He runs with a different crowd than all the rest of the other newsies," he said. "He's not rich but more middle class. His dad gets laid off work so he and his little brother, Les, have to come and work with all the newsies."

When the publisher increases the cost of the newspapers for the delivery boys, Davey encourages them to start a strike and stand up for themselves, Ryan said.

"They've never had the opportunity to do that before," he said.

"My favorite part is meeting all the different people. We have three different layers of classes in the show. And to have all my friends play different levels of rich, middle class, poor, you get to see different aspects of people and that's really cool."

He said the show also has been a good opportunity for him, especially getting to work with 9-year-old Elliott Jingo, who plays Les.

"We're introducing him to theater," Ryan said. "It has been a really great time."

Jingo, who is home-schooled, said this is his first show outside of church productions.

Senior Emily Stowers plays the role of Katherine Plumber.

"Katherine is strong and independent, and she falls for the show's lead, Jack Kelly," she said. "I'm super excited for everyone to see the awesome dancing we have."

Stage manager Evan Voneman, a senior, said "Newsies" is going to be an awesome show.

"We have an incredible set and incredible crew working on it," he said.

"We have a lot of complicated dance numbers and motion and fight scenes. It's a real treat to watch, because every time you see it, there's something new you can watch."

To prepare for their roles, Mollohan said, the cast members attended a New York dialect workshop and had a guest historian teach them more about the time period and the story of this moment in history where a successful strike was carried out by children.

"Our musical is family- friendly and a crowd favorite as many of our 'Fansies' also love the original 1992 Disney movie version of the story," she said.

Others contributing to the production are choreographer Cindy Straub, music director Matt Ebright, orchestra director John Vermeulen, technical director Ron Fansler and set designer Edie Wadkins.

Tickets cost $10 and are all reserved seating. They can be purchased at the door or at www.ticketleap.com.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla