During an August 2012 visit to New York City, I attended the Tony Award-winning musical “Newsies” at the Nederlander Theatre.
On Friday (July 12), myself and five other family members attended the first of three performances of “Newsies” as part of its summer program at the State Theatre Center in Uniontown. Our tickets for six people cost a total of $90, the cost of one ticket for “Newsies” in NYC.
The show featured over 30 home-grown actors, singers and dancers – including many talented teenagers – as well as a live orchestra and inspiring, uplifting Disney music. As promised, it was an energetic, toe-tapping, back-flipping, heartwarming musical extravaganza that played to an appreciative full house.
The State Theater provided a more intimate setting than the NYC venue because of its smaller size. Moreover, the local production was every bit as professional and well-performed as the “Newsies” that I experienced on Broadway.
That’s a credit to six-year director-choreographer John F. Wagner III; the music, sound, technical, props, lighting, stage and other managers responsible for the making magic; the ensemble, orchestra and volunteers; the Cal U music and theater department; and businesses and local folks who donate to and support the arts here.
The point of this letter is not only to offer praise and encouragement but also to point out what many people are missing by not patronizing events and shows at the State Theatre. So close to home. So entertaining. So affordable. So vital to the mix of arts activities important to keep tourism growing in Fayette County.
While you may have missed “Newsies,” community-based actors and musicians will be performing the Broadway hit “Mama Mia!”at the State Theatre on July 26, 27 and 28. I’m confident it likewise will be a high-quality production. The price is the same: $15.
Coincidentally, during my August 2012 visit to NYC, I also saw “Mama Mia!” I still have the ticket stub from the Winter Garden Theatre: $132 for an orchestra seat.
The State Theatre Center for the Arts in Uniontown is a bargain and a blessing.
Joe Grata, Belle Vernon/Washington Township