Emily Nicholson never imagined being able to perform in her favorite musical, and she proudly wears a hat that came from Broadway in New York
She was shocked at first.
Shocked in a good way.
Shocked in a great way, actually.
Evergreen High School Theater had announced that it would return to live musicals for the first time since the 2018-19 school year with a production of “Disney’s Newsies.”
That just so happened to be Emily Nicholson’s favorite musical.
Just so happened to be Emily Nicholson’s first show she ever saw on Broadway, a special vacation with her dad when she was 10 years old.
In the Nicholson family, when a child turns 10, the child gets to pick a destination for a vacation.
“I picked New York because I love theater,” Nicholson said. “I’ve been doing theater since I was a little kid. ‘I want to go to New York, and I want to see a Broadway show.’ That was my first one.”
She and her dad Steve also saw Phantom of the Opera and Aladdin during that trip, as well.
But Newsies was Emily’s favorite.
“I loved it so much. I was so inspired. I thought the Newsies were so cool. I wanted to be just like them,” Emily said. “I begged my dad to buy me a hat from the merchandise stand, and he did.”
A newsboy hat, as they are called. This one in particular even has a small Newsies logo printed on the back.
“I wore it a lot as a kid,” Emily said. “It was my favorite hat.”
Last week, and again this week, Emily gets to put on that hat again, but not just for fun … for her art.
“I was so excited. I was over-the-moon,” Emily said. “I never thought I’d get to be in Newsies.”
She remembers talking to close friend Ari Downer, who is a head of costumes for Evergreen’s production.
“Ari, I have the hat already,” Emily said.
Emily Nicholson plays Davey, some eight years or so after watching the musical on Broadway, after her dad purchased the hat.
“Now I’m a senior in high school, and I get to wear it on stage as part of my costume in a production of Newsies,” she said. “It’s crazy.”
Nicholson is described by Margaret Gorman, the theater’s advisor and director of Newsies, as a “girl of all trades,” someone who can do anything for a production, on stage or off.
Turns out, Nicholson also was the choreographer for the “King of New York” scene to open the second act. The tap dance routine is a showstopper.
“That is 100 percent Emily,” Gorman said. “I had no part in it. She trained our kids for months.”
That effort also has a family connection. Emily’s mom, Lynelle, is a choreographer.
So there were Steve and Lynelle, on opening night last week, watching Emily’s work.
“It made me feel really good,” Emily said. “My parents were both really proud. She had tears in her eyes when she told me how much she loved ‘King of New York.’ I don’t think she’s ever seen my choreography before.”
Evergreen’s High School’s production of Disney’s Newsies returns for three more performances at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Cost is $10 for adults, $7 for children/students/senior citizens.