Crofton High School Prepares for Newsies Musical


Sophia Mancuso

Ms. Caitlyn Connolly works with students to rehearse the musical.

Elise Hamma, Staff Writer

The Newsies Musical hosted by Crofton High’s Cardinal Players is centered around a group of newsboys who are striking against the unfair newspaper wages that were provided in New York City. Newsies is based on a real event that occurred in history called The Newsboys’ Strike of 1899. 

The Newsboys’ Strike began in the summer of 1899 in the month of July when newsboys who worked for newspaper companies, called newsies, stopped traffic so people could not buy newspapers. The newsboys were fed up with the wages they were receiving for selling the newspapers and they wanted better pay. These young boys used the little money they earned from selling newspapers so they could survive because most of them were orphans, according to history

The newsies boycotted the two major newspapers that were being sold at the time, the New York Evening World that was published by Joseph Pulitzer and the New York Evening Journal by William Randolph Hearst. These young boys organized a huge strike and did so by marching through the streets and stopping traffic so people could not buy the newspapers. 

JJ Reida, a freshman at Crofton High School, plays the character of Crutchie who “is a very handsome cripple who doesn’t want others to think that he is too injured or weak to make it.  He wants the other fellas to like and accept him,” said JJ about his character.  “I think that Newsies will be inspiring to teach others to use their voice and to empower others and make a change by doing what’s right,” said JJ.

Eventually, the publishers put an end to the newsies’ protests. The price of the newspapers stayed the same but the publishers would purchase back any newspapers from the newsboys that weren’t sold that day. This decision convinced the newsies to go back to work and end the strike that they had started.

Ms. Becca Bittman, an English teacher and the Department Chair at Crofton High school, is the director of Newsies and, when interviewed, explained that she has been directing for nine to ten of her adult years.  She also did student directing in high school for community kids theater.  When asked what it was like to work with these kids, Ms. Bittman responded, “That’s why I do it.  Even though it can be stressful, to be able to hand over the show to the kids on opening night makes it all worth it.  You can see what all your work has created.”