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Region's high schoolers nominated for performances in Beaver Dam's summer musical

Region's high schoolers nominated for performances in Beaver Dam's summer musical

"Newsies" strike

Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre's all-high school summer musical received more than a dozen Jerry Award nominations for its June production of "Newsies." Luke Hahn of Waupun, front left, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Performance and a Spirit Award. Cast members from 15 area schools received an Outstanding Ensemble nomination.

Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre’s all-high school summer production of “Newsies” has garnered more than a dozen Jerry Award nominations, a program run through the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison.

In its 11th season, the awards program elevates the importance of musical theater within Wisconsin high schools. Educators and industry professionals review roughly 100 productions around the state and provide valuable feedback.

BDACT’s “Newsies” is one of the first productions to be reviewed in the 2019-2020 season.

Three reviewers attended performances and provided the cast, crew and orchestra a 20-page document containing notes, critiques, accolades and suggestions for future productions.

Students from 15 area schools participated in the musical based on the 1992 motion picture that was inspired by the true story of the 1899 newsboys’ strike in New York City.

Director Mark Lefeber said the nominations are exciting for both the cast and crew.

“All six leads were nominated for outstanding performance, you couldn’t ask for more,” he said.

Jerry nominee

Gwen Fischer of Cambria portrayed the role of journalist Katherine Plumber in Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre's June production of "Newsies." Fischer earned an Outstanding Lead Performance nomination for her performance in the all-high school musical.

More than 60 cast members performed in the June production, which also earned an Outstanding Ensemble nomination.

Lefeber said the constructive criticism received from the reviewers is extremely helpful to him as a director.

“I take the feedback they give and use it in our next production,” he said. “The kids love what they’re doing and are always working to become better. The Jerrys are a great program to learn and grow from.”

The nominations are:

  • Outstanding Ensemble
  • Outstanding Lead Performance: Aidan Black, Portage, as Jack Kelly; Guinevere Fischer, Cambria, as Katherine Plumber; Luke Hahn, Waupun, as Davey; Jonathon Coder, Mayville, as Joseph Pulitzer; Annie Friedl, Beaver Dam, as Medda Larkin; and Leo McEvilly, Portage, as Crutchie
  • Outstanding Young Performance: Jackson Uttech, Beaver Dam, as Les.
  • Outstanding Dance Performance: Natalie Dibert, Beaver Dam
  • Outstanding Direction: Mark Lefeber, Beaver Dam
  • Outstanding Musical Direction: Cassie Coenen, Beaver Dam
  • Outstanding Choreography: Hayley Mason, Madison
  • Outstanding Stage Management: Jessica Lefeber, Beaver Dam
  • Outstanding Scenic Design: Jessica Lefeber, Beaver Dam
  • Outstanding Costume Design: Natalyn Nelson, Beaver Dam
  • Spirit Award (voted on by the cast): Luke Hahn, Waupun, Leo McEvilly, Portage, and Reese Vache, Columbus.

School and student achievements will be announced next spring and winners will be featured in an awards show at the Overture Center in Madison next June.

Lefeber’s next directing project will be Beaver Dam High School’s fall musical, “Mamma Mia!”

Auditions for the show will take place in the Beaver Dam High School auditorium, 500 Gould St., from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday and from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

For more information, contact Lefeber at

Follow Kelly Simon on Twitter @KSchmidSimon or contact her at 920-356-6757.

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