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"Newsies" role is a dream job for Novi native

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015

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Like millions of other youths, Ian Young grew up a big fan of the Disney film "Newsies."

But as a fledgling dancer himself, the Novi native connected a bit more with the elaborate choreography that gave the film much of its charm.

"We watched the movie all the time," Young, 21, recalls about the musical dramatization of the New York Newsboys Strike of 1899. "For my generation, it was the one movie that we could watch and see guys sort of close to our age dancing. We would have parties with guys from the dance studio and watch the movie over and over again."

Now Young is a Newsie himself.

He joined the Tony Award-winning Broadway company during August of 2012, staying with the show until it closed two years later. And now he's joining the touring company, making his first appearance as part of the ensemble with the Detroit run that opens on Dec. 15. And Young is thrilled to be wearing the pageboy's cap and swatting around newsprint once again.

"It's just such a great show to do," Young says by phone from rehearsals in New York City. "It's so energetic. And it's an underdog story, David and Goliath, how these boys came together to take on the biggest institution in the city at the time. Those newspapers ran everything, and it was these boys who practically live don the street and made nothing who came together and made a real change and got the papers to back down.

"So the story is amazing. And the choreography is some of the best dancing you'll see on stage anywhere. It never stops. It's so much fun to do; it's hard, but it's fun from beginning to end."

It's also been an enjoyable way for Young to begin his professional stage career.

The oldest of two brothers, Young caught the theater bug early, singing in music productions and plays in elementary school, which led to "kid parts" in local high school productions. "I just loved doing it," Young says. "I don't know if I even though of it as work or a career or anything like that. It was just something I loved doing, and I never looked back." Home-schooled during high school, he studied at Dance Dynamics in Walled Lake and appeared in Walled Lake Western High School productions of "Into The Woods," "Hairspray," "The Sound of Music" and more.

The experience clearly paid off; "Newsies" was Young's first job, three months after he received his high school diploma. "Were doing the summer dance schedule where we would got to national conventions, and I ended up getting a couple of auditions in New York for 'Newsies,'" he says.

"Things just kind of fell into place at the right time. I was lucky that there was a show that I fit into. It's rare for there to be a show on Broadway that needs so many young people. I was just lucky this was there for me."

Since the Broadway stint ended Young appeared in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Nashville and in some "small, developmental projects." Mostly he's been living in Queens, "living the life of a New York actor in between jobs, just going to auditions and trying to stay trained and in shape." His run with the "Newsies" touring company is "open-ended," but he's particularly happy to be starting his tenure back home -- even if it means dealing with a substantial guest list.

"Well, that's a good problem to have," Young says. "When I did the show in New York some of my family made the trip, but it's gonna be awesome to have the tour in my home town to allow my extended family to come. It's always fun to bring people you know on stage and show them where you work. It's a really cool office, so it's fun to show people what I do."


Tuesday, Dec. 15-Dec. 27.

Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway.

Tickets are $89 and $74.

Call 313-237-7464.

or visit broadwayindetroit.com.

Web Site: www.broadwayindetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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