What: Disney’s “Newsies”

When: Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday; additional performances 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23, 2 p.m. Aug. 24 and 25

Where: Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: $30-$40 plus fees

Contact: towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700

What: Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland Jr.”

When: 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday and Aug. 22

Where: Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: $20 plus fees

Contact: towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700

Thoroughly Modern Productions continues its yearslong dive into the Disney musical canon with two, “Newsies” and “Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” performing over the next week and a half at the Tower Theatre.

“‘Newsies’ is a Disney show, so it kind of fit the mold for our summer programming. In the past we’ve done ‘Little Mermaid,’ we did ‘(Mary) Poppins’ … ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Peter Pan,’” said David DaCosta, TMP’s artistic director, “so we’re kind of checking off the Disney list.”

“Newsies,” which opens Friday to begin its two-weekend run, is TMP’s grand summer show. Like last year’s “West Side Story,” “Newsies” has been run as a master class for its cast of 36 youth and adult performers under the direction of DaCosta.

A whopping 24 cast members make up the newsboys in the show, which is semi-historical, loosely following the 1899 newspaper boy strike.

“They kind of took on (Joseph) Pulitzer for fair wages, a better shake at things,” DaCosta said.

Richard Choate plays Pulitzer in the show. Erik McGinnis stars as Jack Kelly, the leader of the newsies, many of them working to help keep their immigrant families afloat financially

“It deals with immigration, a hot topic these days. It’s a nice reminder that we all kind of come from immigrants. We all have to pave our way in and up, and carve our own fair share of the American dream here. So it’s relevant in that sense to things that are happening today,” DaCosta said. “At the end of the day, it’s a rousing, gigantic show.”

The one-act musical “Alice in Wonderland,” directed by McGinnis, is a youth theater camp ages 8 to 18, with a few 5-year-olds in the mix, DaCosta said. The camp culminates with four shows over two days: Wednesday and Aug. 22.

“The kids love it, without having the onus of the big, giant show and combining with adults,” he said. “We’ve really been able to capture the whole camp atmosphere, fully, this year, with that portion of the program.”

“Alice in Wonderland” is meant to make use of the theater on some days it normally would be closed, DaCosta noted.

“We have the theater, and on those dark days there’s never been anything going on,” he said, referring to past TMP shows at the Tower. “Yet we still, obviously, pay a rental fee to occupy the theater, so they can’t really do much of anything Monday through Thursday with us in there, especially with the size and scope of our shows.”

“Set is a character in and of itself” in “Newsies,” said DaCosta, who collaborated with set builder Gary Loddo on the design of the “Newsies” set. It features a cantilever stage extension as well as a 7-foot-high platform with ladders, stairs and working doors that wraps around the outer shell of the stage. And with just a few additions, he said, it will morph into the set of “Alice in Wonderland.”

“It’s going to be pretty neat. We’re both really excited about this one. We’re excited about all of them, of course, but this, from a set design standpoint, we’ve been able to be really inventive and creative on how we want to help tell the story with the set,” he said.

But wait, there’s more

TMP’s busy summer won’t end with “Newsies” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

In September, TMP will also stage “Mamma Mia!” at the Tower, and its cast is also hard at work, said DaCosta, who is directing the musical.

It’s the story of a wedding on a Greek isle.

The guest list includes the three possible fathers of the bride, and a lot of songs by 1970s Swedish pop greats Abba.

“We have about 150 people actively rehearsing (shows) for us, all culminating at the end of the summer. We have nearly created the first summer stock-type theatrical experience right here in Bend for youth, adults and audiences,” DaCosta said.

On top of the three unfolding productions, DaCosta’s wife and frequent theater collaborator, Mallory DaCosta, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It certainly lends to the drama,” DaCosta said. “A certainly unexpected wrinkle, that’s for sure. We have to — there’s no pulling back or out at this point. So we just persevere.”

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