Do you remember the time, back in the day when going to the movies was a big deal? When renting a movie at Blockbuster on a Friday night was an event the entire family looked forward to? That would have been one of the only times during the week you’d have your eyes glued to a screen.
Flash forward to entertainment in 2018. There are limitless entertainment and music options all attempting to satisfy your attention. Question? When was the last time you experienced live entertainment? Live music that’s not recorded and smothered in perfection and effects? Do you remember the last time you felt the heat from stage lights, or participated in the applause of a crowd standing on their feet because the actors made each person individually feel something? Something unique? Something personal? Something happening right in that moment?
If it’s been a while, the answer is here! True entertainment can be found at Vista’s Moonlight Amphitheater in their latest production of Disney’s NEWSIES. Moonlight has become not just a place to be entertained but a place to be reminded that entertainment is meant to be experienced live.
One must admit it takes a second to make the adjustment from TV to live musical theater. Our brains are so used to consuming drama, violence, and a new frame every 9 to 19 seconds. With a live production, one can no longer control every second of entertainment. It’s in this environment where a shift in thinking and experiencing happens. The experience is what is felt when we aren’t mindlessly taking in action sequences and we start taking in the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and senses of something that engages us entirely.
In several scenes, every inch of the stage was taken over by an energetic cast tap dancing while leaping over chairs and each other. The cast filled the night air and your ears with driving harmonies of “The World Will Know” and “Seize the Day.” NEWSIES live created an experience one could never get watching TV. Each show is a new opportunity to experience an entire production and cast singing and dancing with no do-overs.
One performance worth mentioning is Dillon Klena playing Jack Kelly. Dillon is a quadruple threat in that not only can he sing, dance and act but he nailed the accent and nuance of a New York newsy with ease. His vocal performance in “Santa Fe” proved he is capable of hitting even the highest of notes, leaving the audience silent even seconds after the song ended.
Another person to watch is young Noah Baird who played the role of Les Jacobs. At just 12 years of age he gave a foreshadowing of what’s to come and a spirited effort of tap, song, dance and injections of comedic relief.
Filling in the rest of the cast were well played characters like Crutchie, played by Austin Myers, and Medda Larkin played by Shirley Johnson. Shirley completely owned the role and the song “That’s Rich” and left us wanting more.
It’s worth mentioning the behind the scenes crew did an incredible job. Not only was the stage interesting and realistic but it was moved around fluidly and without distraction. Well done!
We left Moonlight Theater with the powerful reminder that experiencing art, dance and music has a lasting effect, long after the event is over. The memories are worth your time and money.
If you’re bored of the same thing, get off the couch and go see NEWSIES. Take our advice and “Seize the Day!” NEWSIES at Moonlight will remind you that live entertainment is better!
By Connor and Bri McFadden