Four years ago, St. Joseph's Prep drama teacher Tony Braithwaite (same guy who runs Act II Playhouse in Ambler) took a few students to see Newsies in New York. One said: "There has never been a more St. Joe's Prep play. Ever."
"So we applied for the rights," Braithwaite says, "but we were told no high schools were allowed to do it yet. So the kids got together, wrote a nice letter, and Disney wrote back and said, 'We're actually looking for schools for pilot productions. You sound like a good candidate.' " Less than a week later, in June, Disney selected St. Joe's Cape and Sword Drama Society (established 1901) as one of four schools nationally to do Newsies.
"Chosen schools perform the show and log impossible notes, any language issues, pacing," Braithwaite says, "and then Disney may tweak the production before they release the rights generally."