Schenectady County

City a big hit with ‘Newsies’ cast and crew

About 20,000 people will have seen “Newsies” at Proctors by the time the show closes tonight, and wh

About 20,000 people will have seen “Newsies” at Proctors by the time the show closes tonight, and when cast members weren’t on stage, they were exploring the Electric City along with everyone else.

Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors, said work with the cast and crew went smoothly, and critics and theatergoers praised the performances held since Saturday.

“The weekend went great, the performances were terrific and people loved the show,” Morris said Thursday. “We’re still selling tickets, but I think we’re at about 18,500 people now out of a possible 21,000.”

Morris said he expects nearly 20,000 people to have seen “Newsies” at Proctors after tonight’s show. About 2,300 people have tickets for the 8 p.m. performance.

Ellen Szorady-Childs, tour manager of “Newsies” for Disney, said Schenectady has changed a lot since she was last there 10 years ago.

“Schenectady has changed so much, and it looks wonderful,” she said. “The show was a big success. There were crowds, usually more than 200 people, at the stage door, and some people came from New York City and stayed here.”

Although Disney was satisfied with the debut of “Newsies” at Proctors, Morris said they had one complaint: There aren’t enough hotels in Schenectady. More than 80 stagehands, cast and crew members arrived in the area last month for a tech period that included constructing sets, fitting costumes, choreographing performance cues and other preparations. During that time, some of the cast and crew were forced to stay at hotels in Colonie and were bused daily to Schenectady.

“The Disney folks said there aren’t enough hotel rooms in Schenectady. That was their biggest concern,” Morris said. “They had to bus the cast from Wolf Road, so they weren’t in Schenectady all the time.”

Morris said he hopes to have one or two shows a year come to the area a month or so before the curtain opens for teching at Proctors, but not having enough hotel rooms in Schenectady could be a problem.

Schenectady could be in store for up to four new hotels over the next couple of years. The Holiday Inn on Nott Terrace is currently being transformed into a DoubleTree and the former Alco site off Erie Boulevard is being prepped for a Courtyard by Marriott.

“A year from now, the Holiday Inn will be done and then the Marriott will be coming,” Morris said. “That will help with this problem.”

The Galesi Group of Rotterdam is currently developing the 60-acre Alco site with additional plans for a casino and a second hotel with Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming. If the state Gaming Facility Location Board awards Rush Street with a casino license, the site would be home to both the Courtyard by Marriott and a Four Points by Sheraton.

A casino could also bring a fourth hotel in neighboring Glenville. Pat Popolizio, owner of the Waters Edge Lighthouse on Freemans Bridge Road, has been thinking about building a hotel near his restaurant. A casino nearby might push his plans forward.

Although they didn’t sleep in Schenectady, the actors in “Newsies” got a taste of the city. Ambition on Jay Street was a popular hangout for the cast.

“The bus took us back and forth from Albany to Schenectady,” said Dan DeLuca, who plays Jack Kelly, the lead character in the show. “I got my coffee at Ambition. Awesome place.”

Angela Grovey, who plays Medda Larkin, said she hit the farmers market on Jay Street last week. Zachary Sayle, known as Crutchie in “Newsies,” stayed close to home and frequented Proctors’ Apostrophe cafe.

The cast celebrated Stephanie Styles’ 23rd birthday in Schenectady. They went to Mexican Radio on State Street, and Styles, who plays Katherine, said it was the best birthday she has ever had.

“I couldn’t have had a better birthday,” Styles said. “This has been so amazing. Proctors is gorgeous and Schenectady is so exciting.”

After tonight’s show, Morris said there’s still work to be done at Proctors. The theater has to be brought back to normal operations, which includes resetting the lighting and sound.

Categories: Entertainment

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