Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meet Morgan Keene

Morgan Keene and Joey Barreiro

“Newsies” at Broward Center Nov. 17-29

By Skip Sheffield

Extra, extra, read all about it. “Newsies” opens Tuesday, Nov. 17 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 29 at Broward Center for the Arts.
This is the first time the 2012 Tony award-winning Broadway hit has played in Broward County, though it did play Miami’s Arsht Center a year ago.
Inspired by the real-life New York Newsboy Strike of 1899, “Newsies” was first a 1992 Disney musical movie. The stage version has a book by Harvey Fierstein and music by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman. The Fort Lauderdale engagement features Joey Barrelo as alpha newsboy Jack Kelly and Morgan Keene as crusading reporter (and love interest) Katherine Plumber and Steve Blanchard as newspaper titan Joseph Pulitzer.
Morgan Keene has been in the female lead role of Katherine just six months, but it fulfills a life ambition.
“I didn’t know much about the musical and I didn’t even see the movie, but I was fortunate to have a long time to rehearse,” said Keene by telephone.  “Joey is fantastic to work with. He is beautiful and he has a beautiful voice. We had the opportunity to bond during rehearsal.”
Katherine Keene’s Cinderella story began when she was in sixth grade in Atlanta, where she played both the title character and the Candy Man in a school production of “Willy Wonka.” When her family moved to Spokane, Washington, Keene joined a community theater group and began to see musical theater as a career.
“I was hooked,” she admits. “I had no clue I could do musical theater as a career. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
In regional theater Keene has performed in “Next To Normal,” “Grease,” “happy days,” “Annie” and “The Sound of Music.” She is eager to make her Fort Lauderdale debut.
“I have a lot of family in Florida, so I have visited,” she says. “I don’t know if I’ve been to Fort Lauderdale. I’m just happy to be part of such a great show.”
Shows are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $35. Call 800-745-3000 or go to www.browardcenter.org.