May 28, 2019 at 10:05am

For many cast members in the Community Musical Newsies, singing and dancing on the Northbrook Theatre stage is a family affair.

“It’s really nice to be able to find something we can do together and an experience we can share,” said Kristin Moran, who works as a speech pathologist and teaches a children’s improv class for the Northbrook Park District. “My daughter loves theatre!”

Moran and her 10-year-old daughter, Ellory, are among several families from the community performing together, making up a cast of more than 50 actors comprised of a variety of different ages, talents and backgrounds.

“The annual Community Musical is one of our favorite shows we do each year at Northbrook Theatre,” said Erin Sweet, Performing Arts Manager. “We are thrilled to have so many families and community members performing in our show and so grateful they came to share their talents on our stage.”

Inspired by the real-life newsboys’ strike of 1899 in New York City, Newsies tells the story of Jack Kelly, who rallies his fellow paperboys to strike against unfair conditions. The high-energy musical features a powerful message to seize the day!

“I thought it would be great to participate in theatre with my kids,” said Will Ryan of Northfield. His son, Liam, 16, plays Newsies hero Jack Kelly, while younger son Jack, 12, plays Finch, one of the newsies. “We’re getting to spend a lot of quality time together.”

Ryan plays the role of Joseph Pulitzer, enemy of Jack Kelly and the other newsies.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve danced,” Will Ryan said. “I have a hard time remembering things like which leg goes first.”

Northbrook dad Larry Fontillas is making his acting debut as Mister Jacobi and the mayor of New York City. After being involved in sports programs with his three boys, he wanted to join daughter Grace, 13, in one of her favorite activities—performing arts.

“Singing and dancing is not something I’ve done before,” he said. “This was a chance for me to try something different.”

But the challenges of learning new dance steps and singing in front of an audience are worth it to the parent actors making memories with their children that will last a lifetime.

“I love having my mom in the Newsies cast,” said Kristin’s daughter, Ellory Moran. Ellory plays a city vendor. “We all work really well together. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 years old or in your 50s.”

Showtimes are June 7, 8 and 14 at 7pm and June 9, 15 and 16 at 2pm at Northbrook Theatre, 3323 Walters Ave. Tickets are available here.