Pomp and Circumstance! Teenage Newsies Celebrate High School Graduation on Broadway

By Michael Gioia
June 20, 2013

Not many high school students have the chance to accept their high school diploma on a Broadway stage. Four teenagers from the Disney musical Newsies did just that June 19, when they celebrated their accomplishments on stage at the Nederlander Theatre.



In the company of the Tony Award-winning musical Newsies, four young ensemble members — original cast member Andy Richardson, who now stars as Jack Kelly's sidekick Crutchie, twin brothers Jacob Guzman and David Guzman, and Hogan Fulton — completed their final year of high school. Since the newsboys were unable to graduate with their high school class, they donned their cap and gowns on Broadway following the June 19 matinee at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre.

Disney Theatrical Productions president Thomas Schumacher took the stage following the Newsies matinee performance and asked the audience to take their seats and be part of the cast members' "Graduation Day." As the orchestra played "Pomp and Circumstance," John Dossett, who stars as Joseph Pulitzer, and Tom Alan Robbins, who plays Roosevelt, handed out diplomas to the graduates. The foursome turned their tassels and threw their caps in the air to celebrate their accomplishments.

Following the ceremony, Playbill.com caught up with the actors, who gushed about their graduation day on Broadway and explained their plans for the future.

Andy Richardson
Photo by Monica Simoes
Andy Richardson
Age: 18
Hometown: San Antonio, TX

What high school did you attend? Originally, I went to Lee High School — The North East School of the Arts — but then when I came to do Newsies, I did online school with K12 International Academy.
Favorite subject? Definitely American Sign Language. I love American Sign Language so much. [Richardson signed "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" on stage before accepting his diploma!]
Least favorite subject? Math. It's just so repetitive to me!
Did you ever think you'd be graduating high school on Broadway? Never in a million years did I think…! It just never crossed my mind. I thought that I would have the normal high school [experience] — do all the senior [activities] and then graduate in a big stadium in a span of like three hours — but to do this is so amazing. It makes it that much more special. I get to [graduate] with not just my co-workers…but they're my family. It's so amazing.
Favorite high school memory? My favorite high school memory is when I found out I was going to be in Newsies. I was in my English class, and we had just taken a test, and I had turned mine in, and my mom kept on texting me incessantly, and I [thought], "What is going on?" I looked, and she [wrote], "You got Newsies!" So I started freaking out, and I wrote a little poster and showed it to all my friends in the class, and we all made my English teacher very angry! [Laughs.]
What are your plans for after high school? I'm going to go to NYU Gallatin. It's the School of Individualized Study, so I can create my own major. I'm going to concentrate on American Sign Language and Musical Theatre. And, I worked it so I can go full time but still do the show.
What other career path would you choose if you weren't on Broadway? [I would] be an American Sign Language interpreter.

Jacob Guzman
Photo by Monica Simoes
Jacob Guzman
Age: 18
Hometown: Brockton, MA

What high school did you attend? I went to Brockton High School.
Favorite subject? My favorite subject was probably math. My parents had a lot of influence on me because they were both math teachers, so I really got into it. They helped me out a lot. Everyone always says, "You cheated because your parents are math teachers." But, [that wasn't the case]… It made sense — there were formulas. [With] English, it was your own personal [views], and I wasn't really creative, I guess, and I just liked how [math] had all these formulas. It just made sense, so math was my favorite. I always enjoyed doing it.
Least favorite subject? Probably English, just because I feel that I'm not the most creative person, and when it comes to writing and writing an essay, it's just not my thing — I don't feel like I'm a good writer, so I'm not a huge fan of English. It's still fun sometimes, but just not my thing.
Did you ever think you'd be graduating high school on Broadway? No. I always [wanted] to be on Broadway… I didn't think about it too much because I was solely a dancer, but I wouldn't say no! [Laughs.] I never thought it would ever be this quick. I just got a call one day to audition [for Newsies], and I [said], "Yeah, sure. I'm coming up to senior year. I need to start auditioning [and get the hang of] the audition process for dance. Why not? It's going to help me out." And, I ended up getting it, and I was kind of beside myself. It was so cool. I never thought in a million years I would be on Broadway before I graduated high school.
Favorite high school memory? I did a talent show with two of my friends, and it was a lot of fun. One year, it was me, [my brother] David and my friend Jules, and another time it was me, David and my friend Kyle. It was a lot of fun bringing in our dance world — because we were all from the same studio — to our school.
What are your plans for after high school? I'm going to stay with the show for a little longer. I'm going to try and go with the flow, like if auditions come up. I really love the show, so I don't want to go anywhere. I definitely want to go to college eventually, but not next year because I need to spend some time just focusing on the show. It was hard last year trying to balance school and the show, so it would be nice to get a little break.
Dream schools? When I was in high school, I always wanted to go to Fordham [University] or a big school like that. But, as I'm on Broadway, I don't know if I want to major in dance anymore, so now it's all flipped upside down, and I don't really know what I want to do anymore. But Fordham was always one of the schools I would love to go to or Juilliard or SUNY Purchase…
What other career path would you choose if you weren't on Broadway? I would definitely want to be a dancer. I've trained my whole life to be a dancer, and it's what I love to do. I always had this dream of being a "Dancing Doctor." I would dance, and as I would get older, and my body can't handle it anymore, I would have my medical degree from college and use that to become a doctor. I was always fascinated when I went to the doctor's [office], and it would be really cool to be in the medical field. I always said I wanted to be a "Dancing Doctor!" [Laughs.]

David Guzman
Photo by Monica Simoes
David Guzman
Age: 18
Hometown: Brockton, MA

What high school did you attend? I went to Brockton High School.
Favorite subject? My favorite subject was math.
Least favorite subject? Probably English… I wasn't a big fan of writing, and I liked math because both of my parents are math teachers, and it just naturally came to me. It was an easy subject, so it was fun.
Did you ever think you'd be graduating high school on Broadway? I did not, actually, at all think I was going to be on Broadway. My goal was always to go to college for dance. I wanted to come to New York somehow — all the schools I was looking at were in New York, so I knew that was the place I had to be. I always thought of taking a dance road in the future, but it just ended up working out perfect that I was able to be on Broadway. I never thought it would happen — that simple!
Favorite high school memory? I think my favorite high school memory was that I was able to go on "Dancing With the Stars" with a couple of friends from my dance school. It was junior year with my brother and two other friends.
What are your plans for after high school? I do want to go to college. I'm not going to be attending college this fall, but hopefully in the future. I'll definitely want to…but as of right now it's put off on hold. I'm just going to stay focused on the show. I definitely want to stay here for a long time.
Dream schools? I always had a dream school like [Alvin] Ailey or Juilliard for dance, but I don't know if it's necessary to go to school for dance anymore now that I'm already in the professional world.
What other career path would you choose if you weren't on Broadway? If I weren't on Broadway, I would probably try to be in a dance company somewhere, still dancing. But, if I wasn't dancing, I think my goal is to be a physical therapist because I like to know more about my body. Becoming a physical therapist will help me keep my body in shape, so I don't fall off the dance charts!

Hogan Fulton
Photo by Monica Simoes
Hogan Fulton
Age: 18
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA

What high school did you attend? Thousand Oaks High School.
Favorite subject? My favorite subject is probably English because I like writing poetry.
Least favorite subject? Spanish because I can't hear it! I can't understand it. I know some words, but that's it.
Did you ever think you'd be graduating high school on Broadway? No, I did not at all! [Laughs.] But it was super exciting, and it was a lot cooler than just graduating at school. It was kind of funny, actually, because it was so crazy to have an audience there!
Favorite high school memory? I was on my way to rehearsal for a Shakespeare play in school, and that's when I got the call for Newsies, and I got to tell all my friends because I heard it right there.
What are your plans for after high school? I'm staying with the show for now, but I want to go to college eventually.
Dream schools? NYU [New York University] or USC [University of Southern California]. [I would go for] studio recording — music.
What other career path would you choose if you weren't on Broadway? Well, I said I like poetry… I also like songwriting, so I would like to do that.

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

View the Entire Photo Gallery
Andy Richardson, Jacob Guzman, David Guzman and Hogan Fulton
Photo by Monica Simoes