“Carrying The Banner” With the Women of Newsies

“Carrying The Banner” With the Women of Newsies

Happy Women’s History Month! And on the 10th anniversary of Newsies opening on Broadway, who better to celebrate with than two important women from this incredible show about standing up for what’s right? We asked original Broadway cast members Kara Lindsay and Capathia Jenkins about their respective portrayals of Katherine Plumber and Medda Larkin and how their characters still make an impact 10 years later. 

Kara Lindsay

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Kara Lindsay received her BFA in acting/musical theatre before originating the role of Katherine Plumber in the Paper Mill Playhouse pre-Broadway production of Newsies. Drawing inspiration from the real-life journalist Nellie Bly, Lindsay would go on to make her Broadway debut with this role from 2012 to 2014. Her performance and her character remains complex and inspirational as Katherine Plumber remains as one of Disney’s strong and powerful leading ladies.

Is there anything that playing a Disney heroine has taught you that you would want to teach others?

Katherine Plumber is the definition of perseverance. She taught me to keep on going forward despite any obstacle that may come. We must always do what is right, not what is easy. 

What about your Disney heroine inspires you the most? 

Everything about Katherine Plumber is an inspiration to me! Her tenacity, her wit, her humor, her bravery, her heart. She is many things at once. Both fiercely strong and vulnerable, both hilarious and stern. That’s what makes her such a beautifully layered human. What a gift it was to step into her shoes! 

Capathia Jenkins

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Capathia Jenkins has had quite the career in musical theatre. From bringing down the house with her awe-inspiring rendition of "Turn Back, O Man" in the 2000 Off-Broadway revival of Godspell, to bringing the role of The Washing Machine to life in the original Broadway production of Caroline, or Change, Jenkins has always been a force on stage to be reckoned with. In 2012, she originated the role of Medda Larkin in Disney’s Newsies and brought the audience to its feet with “That’s Rich” night after night. A crowd favorite, she would return to close out the production in 2014. 

What trait of Medda's would you want to instill in others?

Medda has a strong sense of self she knows who she is and leads with her heart. This is a trait that was instilled in me from my Mom and I have come to realize that it is a superpower.

What about Medda inspires you the most? What made her stand out to you when first preparing to play her?

Medda is a Black woman living just before the turn of the century who owns her own business. This was the first thing that attracted me to her as I was planning to play her. She had a real open heart to those newsboys, and I think she really sees Jack Kelly and wishes him only goodness despite his current circumstances. I am inspired by her nurturing but also joyful spirit. I absolutely loved playing her.

For 10 years, Newsies has never wavered in its message of empowering and giving a voice to those who deserve to be heard.  And we continue to celebrate the people that brought that message to life – especially the women that gave a voice to those who were voiceless at the time. Here's to another 10 years of Newsies!

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