Every year, The Colorado Thespian Convention gives two schools the opportunity to perform at The Bellco Theatre in front of over 5,000 high school theatre students from all over the state of Colorado. This year, out of sixteen schools, the FHS production of Newsies was invited to not only perform but to open the entire convention. For those who don’t quite understand what this means, Newsies won state.
For a group of seniors, this journey didn’t start in August when the cast list came out or in May when the musical was announced but, in the fall of 2015, nearly four years ago. With the musical, that year Bye Bye Birdie coming to a close a group of wide-eyed freshman were beyond inspired.
“The seniors that year were so kind and understanding. We wanted to carry on their legacy” said Zack Briggs. They saw what was possible and that was the start of something amazing.
Fast forward to just last year. After watching other schools have the opportunity to perform at Thescon the group of students and teachers who were part of Big Fish were motivated to be the next show to grace the Bellco stage. For that Saturday matinee performance the sales campaign “Thescon or bust” was out. The cast, crew, and pit geared up for the show of their lifetimes only to be sorely disappointed. The bitter defeat of not being chosen was a fresh wound for the remaining weekend of performances, however, in the end, the feedback and criticism was beneficial in motivating that group of former wide-eyed freshman. Those same kids while preparing for their senior year were ready to make Newsies a show to remember.
Going into this school year the odds were slightly stacked against them. The FHS theatre students were going into the most challenging musical in school history with a brand new pit director, artistic director, and choreographer. Tensions were high in the beginning, however, the show came together better than anyone expected. “It was intimidating at first to put in the extra work to make the transition smooth but, by putting our trust into Ms. Ferguson the turned out to be the best we ever thought was possible,” said Junior Jade Cochran.
After nearly three months of rehearsals, Newsies opened. Countless laughs, tears, and sleepless nights went into getting to opening night. As senior Dallin Lyon put it, “Honestly I didn’t think our audience would enjoy the show as much as they did. It felt like every other one I had been in at Frederick but, apparently, we blew the rest of them out of the water.”
Now, the theatre program is gearing up for the show of their lifetimes. If you are interested in helping raise money or support this incredible accomplishment contact Mr. Brown at [email protected]