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Lower School Raven Featured in NC Theatre's "Newsies"
Lower School Raven Featured in NC Theatre's "Newsies"

Ravenscroft fifth-grader Sawyer Parker joined the NC Theatre production of "Disney's Newsies" over the summer, performing eight shows at the Progress Energy Center in late July with a role in the kids' ensemble.

"I was so happy to get to participate in the kids' ensemble because it was an amazing production," he said.

For a young actor who enjoys trying new things, this show provided plenty of opportunities to shine.

"In one part of the show, we had to run off the stage as these set pieces, these towers, were spinning. We had to time it perfectly to be in the right place to get off," he said. "I really like a challenge, and that was challenging and fun."

The Tony Award®-winning musical, adapted from the Disney film, tells the story of New York City's newsboys' strike against unfair working conditions. According to NC Theatre's website, the musical "addresses age-old themes of social injustice, exploitative labor practices and David-versus-Goliath struggles as the young learn to harness their power against a corrupt establishment. High-energy with non-stop thrills, the stage version introduces eight brand-new songs while keeping many of the beloved songs audiences know and love from the film."

The cast (pictured at right; Sawyer is front row, second from left) featured Broadway and touring veterans including Jason Gotay, Merwin Foard, Daniel Plimpton and Steve Raymond.

"NC Theatre casts local folks in smaller roles to fill out the cast in some of their productions," said Sawyer's mother, Easter Maynard '89. "That's one of the things that actually makes them so great, in my opinion: high-level Broadway talent, but also talent development for people in North Carolina."

Sawyer has been a student at the conservatory for two years. Over the summer he also participated in Ravenscroft's theater camp, portraying John Darling in "Peter Pan."

"That was very fun because I was in most of the scenes," he said.

He says he wants to continue doing theater and is looking forward to participating in the upcoming NC Theatre Showcase as well as performances by Ravenscroft's drama troupe and Raving Ravens. He added that the theater is the perfect place to practice collaboration and communication — skills he's developed at Ravenscroft through Lead From Here.

"When you're in a big production, you have to work well with others," Sawyer said. "You have to become friends with them. The directors are going to choose people with good attitudes."