3 Chandler thespians in ‘Newsies’ at Herberger - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

3 Chandler thespians in ‘Newsies’ at Herberger

August 19th, 2018 development
3 Chandler thespians in ‘Newsies’ at Herberger


Three Chandler teens are among the 60 cast members of Valley Youth Theater’s season-opening presentation of the musical “Newsies” that is playing now through Aug. 26 on Center stage at the Herberger Theater.

Caden Christel, Devon Policci and Eli Stewart are performing in the first show of Valley Youth Theater’s 30th season.

Presented by Valley Toyota Dealers and sponsored in part by Edward Jones, this is the first time Valley Youth Theatre has presented “Newsies,” a production that producing artistic director Bobb Cooper and resident music supervisor Mark Fearey have wanted to produce for 20 years.

“It was a landmark event for young people,” Cooper said. “And today, it’s more relevant than ever as we see kids band together to support one another for a common cause. The Newsboys’ Strike is one of the first strikes carried out by children and it ended in a compromise that not only met their needs. It also created awareness and a platform that led to labor laws that still exist to protect children today.”

The cast includes 37 actors and actresses ages 12 to 18 and 21 musicians in the orchestra.

Serving as director is Broadway performer, director and choreographer Tony Spinosa.

As with all VYT productions, the theater will also perform for local schools, as part of their Literacy and the Arts and Field Trip programs Aug. 21 and 22.

Founded in 1989, Valley Youth Theatre is a professional-quality theater company dedicated to helping young people achieve their full potential through meaningful engagement, education and excellence in the performing arts.

“By building character from characters, VYT empowers kids of all ages and backgrounds to learn and grow as individuals, performers and leaders,” spokeswoman Cozette Phifer said. “Over the past five seasons alone, the organization has positively impacted more than 200,000 children and their families through public and school performances, workshops and youth development programs.”

This is the first Valley Youth Theater production for Caden, a 14-year-old freshman at Corona Del Sol High, where he is a part of the theater program. He played in several shows presented by Aprende Middle School’s Jaguar Players.

Those shows included “Rock of Ages: Middle School Edition,” in which he he played Stacee Jaxx; “All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Being a Zombie,” in which he played Steve/Non-Zombie. He also ran the soundboard for “James and the Giant Peach.” Caden wants to pursue a career in acting, singing or engineering.

Devon is 18 and recently graduated from Perry High School, where he was involved in dance and the theater company.

This is Devon’s third show at Valley Youth Theater. He was in “Grease” as Sonny and played Jetsam in “The Little Mermaid.”

He’s been on several other stages in the Valley doing shows like “Pippin” at Spotlight Youth Theatre, where he played the title character; “A Chorus Line” at Theater Works, where he was Greg; and “Bridges of Madison County” at Arizona Broadway Theatre, where he played Michael. Devon wants to be a professional actor.

Eli is a 16-year-old sophomore at Corona del Sol, where he does pole vaulting, sings in the choir and is on the tennis team.

This is his Valley Youth Theater debut. At Pueblo Middle School he played Albert in “Bye Bye Birdie” and Alter Ego in “School House Rock Live.” Eli likes flying and backpacking. He wants to have a career in the aerospace industry.

Tickets for Newsies range from $16.50 to $35.50 and can be purchased at 602-252-8497 or HerbergerTheater.org.