Skip to content

NEWSIES Volunteer Spotlight

Our volunteers are the heart and soul of QCT. We wanted to take a moment to feature a few of them working hard on stage and off to bring Newsies to life!

Pictured from left to right are Dominic Regner (Finch), Clara Louthan (Katherine), and Jason Keller (Project Manager)

Tell us a little about yourself!

Dominic – I was born and raised in Quincy Illinois. I am an alumnus of Illinois State University and a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. I am also a hiker, musician, and vocalist.

Clara – I was born in Quincy Illinois to my parents, Jimmie and Julie Louthan. I have been singing and dancing for as long as I can remember but I actually didn’t start doing theater seriously until high school. But once I started I couldn’t stop! I am currently going into my second year of college studying musical theater and dance and it was the best decision ever! About two years ago I started my own photography business and I have taken thousands of photos since! Photography is my biggest passion outside of theater. I have a younger brother and three crazy dogs. Newsies is one of my all-time favorite shows and I am so excited for Quincy to finally be able to experience it! 

Jason – I am a lifelong Quincy resident. I am the Operations Manager for SEM Minerals here in Quincy. I am married to the beautiful and talented Marci (Medda in this production) and the father of Thomas and Joseph.

How did you get involved with QCT? 

Dominic – I got involved with QCT way back in 2009 because I wanted to try something new and explore ways to help break out of my personal shell. My first show was Geppetto and Son. It was an interesting experience being a part of that show as well as every other show leading up to Newsies. With every show I’ve done over the years, I’ve gained more experience, new skills, and new techniques that I can apply to any performance going forward. 

Clara – My first QCT show was Frozen Jr. and I played a Storyteller. I had just finished my first show in high school and I knew many people who were auditioning for Frozen so I thought, why not? Little did I know this would kickstart a long series of shows for me! This show sticks out to me because it was the last real social event for me before the pandemic hit, as it was in February 2020. Probably half the cast, including me, was hit with a mysterious illness not long after closing night (wonder what that could have been?)

Jason – My first show at QCT was West Side Story in the summer of 1998. It was only the second show I had ever done.  My high school had done it in the spring, and I was asked if I would want to audition for QCT’s version. I was an athlete through high school and never really gave theatre much thought. I loved to sing, though, and a couple of my friends encouraged me to try out for our high school’s production. I was completely hooked. I hadn’t ever had that much fun. The friends and communities that are made at QCT are life-altering. I met my wife at QCT!

What is your role in/for Newsies?

Dominic – I am playing one of the Newsies named Finch. He is a member of Jack Kelly’s gang of young men who carry the banner, or in other words, we are selling the headlines and newspapers in New York. The characters we are portraying do this kind of work in order to make ends meet to survive the city life and support their way of living.

Clara – I am playing Katherine Plumber the young and eager reporter! 

Jason – I am the Project Manager for Newsies. I am responsible for making sure the set gets completed on time and on budget and helping coordinate the technical aspects of the show.

What is your first memory of (seeing or listening to) Newsies?

Dominic – My first memory of Newsies was when I was a child and I watched the movie version with Christian Bale as Jack, and I was just captivated not only by the music, but by the dancing, tumbling, and charisma that those young actors were performing. The song Seize The Day was like an anthem that inspired me throughout the years to push myself and try new things leading me to here. 

Clara – My first time watching Newsies was watching the 1992 movie version with Christian Bale. I remember really liking this movie growing up, but when the pro-shot version of the original Broadway musical came out I was hooked. I have seen that version hundreds of times. I associate this show a lot with my cousin Kyia, who loves this show as much as I do and has seen it with me more times than I can count. 

Jason – I remember watching the Broadway filmed version with my wife and kids about 10 years ago. We all loved it!

What is the most challenging part of the process of doing a show for you?

Dominic – The hardest thing for me is usually the dance choreography, especially during the beginning of the process. It does get easier and stronger with practice and patience. 

Clara – I find that discovering your character early in the process can be challenging because nothing in theater is surface-level. If it was it would be a pretty boring show. It is up to us as actors to interpret what motivates our character and why our character is meant to drive the story forward. This is a good challenge and can even be some of the most fun parts of the process. 

Jason – For Newsies, the most challenging part is finding the time to get everything completed. The set is very complex and large. Most of our volunteers work during the day. We try to work in the evenings and the production team has been very generous with allowing us some extra time on stage to get the bigger pieces built.

What is something about the design of the show that audiences may not know or realize?

Dominic – With a show such as Newsies, there is so much happening all around you on the stage and it’s very high caliber overall. The process of doing this show requires so much focused attention from each of us on stage especially when we do something that’s synchronized or diverse in choreography.

Clara –This show isn’t just a fun Disney show (even though it very much is as well) but it is inspired by true historical events that helped shape our history. It tackles topics such as feminism, class systems, and unity that are just as important now as they were in 1899. 

Jason – The brick and steel-looking columns, which we call a portal or false proscenium, are all made out of wood and each side weighs 400-500 lbs.

Talk about creating the world of Newsies from your or your character’s point of view.

Dominic – Creating the world of Newsies from Finch’s point of view, I’d have to say it’s a fun experience because as the actor walking in Finch’s shoes, I get to explore his personal journey through the story and understand how he thinks and feels. How he may act tough when he needs to, but in the end all he cares about are his friends and his chosen family. Finch would stand with his friends through thick and thin, through blood, sweat, and tears.

Clara – Katherine was breaking societal norms at a time when it was unusual for someone of her status to be sympathetic to the Newsies’ cause. While it’s not uncommon in today’s world for a woman to be independent and in charge, the strength of character Katherine needed to take so many risks is crucial in portraying her story. Katherine had a fortunate upbringing, but as a female writer in a time when women were not taken seriously in the workplace, she understands the need for change in their society. 

Jason – I get to take the set designer’s visions and turn them into a reality. We strive really hard to come as close to the design as possible, but some minor changes have to be made for safety. It’s quite amazing and fun to see a pile of lumber and cans of paint turn into a beautiful set. And I get to create that with some of my best friends and my boys.

What would you say to encourage someone to get involved at QCT?

Dominic – QCT has been a blessing in many forms. It has helped me in my times of shyness and fear of public speaking. It has helped me grow as an actor and musician. Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to make some amazing friends.

Clara – The only thing you can do is to simply just do it! It’s so hard to put yourself out there but you’ll never know if you don’t try! If auditioning for a show isn’t your thing or you just aren’t there yet, QCT has amazing classes or you could help with a set build day! It is a great way to meet people and the QCT environment is incredibly welcoming – I have met some of the most amazing people here! 

Jason – QCT is a family. QCT volunteers work hard, have fun, and create a community, unlike any other community I have been involved with.

Connect with us

Follow us on social media to stay up to date on all the new things we’ve been up to! Get a full detailed newsletter by signing up today!

Shop Our Amazon Wishlist

Support Quincy Community Theatre by shopping our Amazon Wish List and getting us the office and backstage supplies we need.

Shop Amazon