INTERVIEW: With Chaz Wolcott from Disney’s NEWSIES, Presented by: Arena Stage. The Tony Award-Winning Musical, Disney’s Newsies, is currently running at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington D.C. The show is currently scheduled to run from November 1-December 22, 2019. We hope you enjoyed their Insta-Takeover recently, and now we wanted to give a little more insight into the production from the eyes of one of their stars!
“In the summer of 1899, the newsboys of New York City took on two of the most powerful men in the country — Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst — and won. Inspired by true events, the Broadway smash hit is a testament to the power of standing up and speaking out. The Tony Award-winning musical features fan-favorites like “Carrying the Banner,” “King of New York” and “Seize the Day.” Newsies is “a winning, high-energy musical” (Entertainment Weekly) just in time for the holidays and perfect for the whole family.”
Chaz has an impressive resume, particularly with Disney’s Newsies. He has filled many roles for the show through out his career, including actor, director, and choreographer. He is best known for his performance as ‘Buttons’ in the film version of Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical, and is currently cast as ‘Race’ for his performance at the Arena Stage. Chaz has performed in Disney’s Newsies over 800 times during his career, and is extremely passionate about the performing arts as well as his charitable work with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
We hope you enjoy getting to know more about Disney’s Newsies through one of their top performers. (We sure did!)
Chip and Co.: What is the biggest challenge you have taken away from your experience in Newsies?
Chaz: Performing in the round (with audiences on all sides of you) is so different than performing on a typical proscenium stage. It’s been really interesting to learn the ins and outs of how to perform for an audience in the round!
Chip and Co.: Have you enjoyed your time on the Arena Stage with your fellow cast members? Which cast members have blown you away with their performances?
Chip and Co.: You have made magic for Newsies audiences previously as ‘Buttons’, but in this performance you play ‘Race’, what are the biggest differences between the two characters?
Chaz: It is really interesting to find different characteristics for each Newsie depicted in the play. Buttons was more of a follower, one of the boys, not entirely developed in the script, whereas Race is one of the leaders and helps to drive the plot throughout the whole show. One of my favorite things about ensemble shows like this, is creating a specific identity for each of the characters using context clues from their lines in the script. The character of Race is actually rooted in a historical figure of the Newsboys’ Strike- Ed ’Racetrack’ Higgins- so it’s also been fun to research him and incorporate that into my show.
Chip and Co.: If you had to sing impromptu Disney Karaoke for a blind audition what song(s) would be your go to?
“CHAZ WOLCOTT (Race / Ensemble / Crutchie u/s) is elated to make his Arena Stage debut with Newsies. Chaz’s New York/National Tour credits include Disney’sNewsies, Cats (Mr. Mistoffelees) and Me and My Girl (City Center Encores!). Regional theatre credits include Music Theatre Wichita, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Fulton Theatre, Casa Mañana, Westchester Broadway, Lyric OKC and The Gateway. Chaz was Buttons in the film version of Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical and was featured on So You Think You Can Dance. Chaz is an alum of Oklahoma City University and is currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in NYC.”
Thank-you Chaz for the wonderful interview and giving us some insight into this truly timeless story you love so dearly. Special thanks to our friends at Arena Stage for spectacular opportunities to dive deeper into Newsies and the Arena Stage. Thank-you!
Be sure to check back here at Chip and Company for all things Disney and for our review of Disney’s Newsies presented by the Arena Stage around mid-November! We look forward to seeing the performance soon.
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