The South Arkansas Arts Center’s production of “Newsies” may have been inspired by the true story of the turn-of-the-century newsboys’ strike, but the story at its core is equally relevant today. The production, which is filled with rousing musical numbers and was inspired by the Disney musical of the same name, highlights the power of a strong unified group to create positive change. That same deep connectivity has worked its way through the dedicated group of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to stage the community theatre production.

“’Newsies’ is not only about achieving fairness in wages, living conditions, and quality of life but is about family, whether it be the rag tag ragamuffins who sell papers, the Pulitzers, or others who encounter the various individuals in the show,” said director Ian Aipperspach. “Theatre is also a family. Working together, we develop a sense of unity amidst the diversity through rehearsal and practice. Sometimes we have disagreements but we always leave refreshed, renewed, and amped up for another day.”

In the production, the Newsies themselves are a family, who for the most part, do not have mothers and fathers. They have each other. They tease each other, get frustrated, but at the end of the day, they come back and share the events of the day and support each other.

The Newsies unite to overcome the misdeeds of the Pulitzers. Powerful though they may be, the Pulitzers also have a strong sense of family. The newspaper impresario offered his daughter a life of wealth and leisure, but she chose to forge her own path in the family business. He ultimately comes to respect her diligence in helping to bring the truth of the Newsies family to light.

“These examples help to remind each one involved in the show that there is always someone you can lean on, someone you can share with, and someone who will always be there for you no matter what,” continued Aipperspach. “Each individual in our show has someone like that who can help them be their own ‘King of New York,’ to quote one of the show’s most beloved songs.”

Box office is now open for “Newsies,” sponsored by Murphy USA. Performances are July 20-23 and 26-30 at 7:30 p.m., or 2:30 p.m. for Sunday matinees.

South Arkansas Arts Center