Augusta Junior Players return to the stage with performance of Disney’s ‘Newsies’

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Augusta Junior Players are getting ready to make their return to the stage. Tonight is their first live performance since the pandemic. All weekend long they’ll be performing Disney’s Broadway musical “Newsies” at Davidson Fine Arts.

It’s an overwhelming sense of excitement. For many of the cast, this is the first show in two years. So the adrenaline is pumping for a sold-out show.

Light, camera, audience, for the first time in a long time.

“It’s going to be crazy. It’s something I haven’t felt in almost two years,” said Bennett Wright, Augusta Jr. Players.

Bennett Wright and Heidi Coughenour play key roles in newsies.

It’s a cast of 47 and a 16-person orchestra.

“For this to be the show that brings us all back to the theater, it’s so exhilarating,” said Jesse Wilkerson, Augusta Jr. Players.

Jesse Wilkerson is the lead role he says it feels like a dream to be back on stage.

“There’s such a passion and drive from each of them that they bring to the stage. That speaks volumes to who they are as individuals,” said Roy Lewis, Augusta Jr. Players Artistic Director.

Lewis says the four performances will be socially distant. Seating about 300 people. But Augusta’s entire theater community is bubbling with excitement.

“There is a pent-up demand by the general public for live events,” said Charles Scavullo, Imperial Theatre.

Charles Scavullo with the Imperial Theater says they’ve been hosting dance recitals and private events for a month. And film festivals and concerts will be back in July and August.

“We are still enforcing social distancing with only 400 seats currently and requiring masks,” he said.

By July they will be full capacity. But the August Jr Players will take a bow first.

“Opening with a bang I would say. It’s going to be a show for the books,” said Heidi Coughenour, Augusta Jr. Players.

The show tonight and tomorrow night are sold out. But there are some tickets available for the matinees. The Miller Theater also said that they are starting shows again the first week of August.

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