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The Scoop on Newsies: Q & A with Director Sherry Passmore

WROY/WRUL correspondent Hailey Winkleman sat down for a Q+A with CWC Drama Department Director Sherry Passmore to discuss the upcoming production of Newsies. Be sure to come out and see this musical inspired by an amazing true story November 17-19, 2023, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm in the CWCHS Auditorium.

Q: Welcome, and thank you for your time. I’d love to start by asking about the drama program itself. Firstly, how did you get involved and who are other key players?

A: I was in the drama club in HS myself! In my daughter’s junior year of HS I was contacted by Betty Brown to step in for a HS role one week before the show. I guess I did a decent enough job because they asked me to take over for Lynn Cantrell when she retired. I’ve been here ever since!

Q: Can you tell me how the CWC Drama program works, about student auditions, and parent/community involvement?

A: The Drama Dept. itself is a student lead group. There are meetings throughout the year to discuss ways for students to get involved with the Performing Arts. The actual productions are decided by the sponsors; myself, Grace Sinclair, and Lynn Cantrell. We also are the ones to judge student auditions and cast the shows with me as the final decision-maker and director.

There has been a lot of parent and community involvement as of recent, and it is so great to see the community come together to support our students. Ways for parents and community members to get involved include joining the Carmi Fine Arts Booster Club or the Carmi League of Arts who both are so supportive of the High School Fine Arts. 

Q: Great, thanks! Now I know you’re really wanting folks to know more about the upcoming production of Newsies. What is this show about, and what can we expect from the cast?

A: This show is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899. We follow the story of homeless NYC newsboy, Jack Kelly (played by Landon Driscoll), as he befriends two newcomers, Davey and Les (Kyler Fisher and Ella Newell). When publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Aidan Willis) sets new rules that make it more difficult for the young newspaper salesmen to make a buck, the boys go on strike. Along the way, we meet some fun characters that let all of our students shine in their own unique ways.

Definitely expect to see tons of different personalities and quirks on stage. This show is about a ragtag group of kids that have been together for so long, they are practically family. 

Q: Are there a lot of interesting costumes, especially considering the time period?

A: There were a lot of dark colors in this show, which has been an adjustment for us since our last few productions have been so bright and fun. We are letting our students and their characters shine instead of their costumes.

Q: I hear there is a lot of dancing in this show. Could you tell me more about that and the process of getting the kids stage ready?

A: We are so happy to have and introduce our very own Karen Kays Camp as our choreographer for this production. She is a former Bulldog and Drama Club member and we are so thrilled to debut her work. She and the students have put in hours of hard work into making dances that are not only fun to perform, but to watch!

Q: Nothing happens onstage without behind the scenes crew members. Do you have anything you’d like to share about the tech and crew involvement in this show?

A: We have got a great cast and crew!! Our crew members work hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and if everything goes perfect, you won’t even know they are there!! The crew members go above and beyond to make sure that we have the things we need in the two weeks before the show. As far as sets and props, there aren’t too many physical sets that we use. Thanks to you, (Hailey Winkleman), we will be able to use digital backgrounds and visuals to enhance the show even more!

Q: I appreciate the shoutout, and it’s my pleasure to help! Is there anything I missed? Anyone else you want to shout out? 

A: We want to recognize our student directors, Laney York and Brandi Hineman for their work behind the scenes to help us out. A big thanks to Erica Zieren for helping with some of our props and set design and Anna York for gathering and costuming our kids for this show.  Of course, we owe thanks to the wonderful Lynn Cantrell for always being supportive, encouraging, and helpful whenever we need her.

Join us for an Open Line in studio on Monday, November 13th when Jc Tinsley will be joined by Passmore and students/actors Brandi Hineman, Laney York, and Landon Driscoll.  The show will air just after the Ten @ 10am News on 93.3 fm & AM 1460.  It will also be available for on demand consumption here on shortly after.

1 comment
  1. Doug Brinkley
    Doug Brinkley
    November 8, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    Sherry knows about drama. She has been very dramatic her whole life.


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