Chilliwack born-and-raised actor Adam Charles plays the lead role of Jack Kelly in Newsies by Theatre Under the Stars. (Lindsay Elliott)

Chilliwack theatre talent shines on outdoor Vancouver stage

Adam Charles lands lead role in Disney’s Newsies with Theatre Under the Stars

A trio of homegrown talent has taken the outdoor stage in Vancouver with Theatre Under the Stars and its production of Disney’s Newsies.

Most notable is Adam Charles who plays the lead role of Jack Kelly in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Charles was born and raised in Chilliwack and graduated from Sardis secondary in 2002. He is returning to perform with Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) for the first time in 11 years.

“I feel like [Jack Kelly] is super relatable to the masses,” he says, adding that his character is “stuck in one place and wants to finds his purpose in life” like many people.

Charles is accompanied by fellow Chilliwackians Joaquin Little who is in the chorus and plays the character Specs, and orchestra trombonist Jackson Howard.

“Disney’s Newsies is a fiery true tale of conviction, where a scrappy group of underdogs sets spirits aflame by standing up and fighting for what is right,” said TUTS board president Naveen Kapahi.

A soaring spectacle of powerful song and high-kicking dance, Newsies is packed with nonstop thrills and a timeless message for the whole family. At the turn of the 20th century, New York City had its papers delivered by an army of ragged orphans and runaways called ‘newsies.’ But when newspaper owners raise distribution prices at the newsies’ expense, this band of misfits unites to strike against the unfair conditions. Filled with inspiring songs such as ‘King of New York,’ ‘Santa Fe,’ and ‘Carrying the Banner,’ this Disney film turned Tony Award-winning Broadway hit inspires everyone to seize the day.

Opening night for Newsies was July 10, and the show runs until Aug. 17. Charles says it has been going very well so far.

“The audiences love it. They’re laughing, they’re crying. They’re along for the ride with us, for sure.”

Newsies is being performed at the outdoor Malkin Bowl stage in Stanley Park. It’s definitely “a bit of a trip” performing open-air theatre, he says.

“You’re used to a dark theatre where you can’t see anyone, but here you look out and you see about 1,200 faces.”

The cast and crew have also been getting used to performing out in nature where there are racoons on one side of the stage, eagles and planes flying overhead, and sea lions barking at the most inopportune time.

Charles is a graduate of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in Toronto. He has acted on stages across Canada, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland. Some of his favourite theatre credits include: Link Larkin in Hairspray, Eddie in Blood Brothers (Arts Club), Marius in Les Miserables, Coneybear in Spelling Bee (WCT), Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Chemainus), Sky in Mamma Mia (TSJ), Galileo in We Will Rock You (Magnus), Fredrick in Pirates of Penzance (TIP), and Dean Hyde in All Shook Up (Mayfield and The Globe).

Actor Joaquin Little grew up in Sardis, graduated in 2017 from G.W. Graham and is now studying theatre at Capilano University.

Jackson Howard graduated from G.W. Graham this year and has been accepted on a full scholarship to Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto this fall.

Theatre Under the Stars presents Disney’s Newsies until Aug. 17 at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. Tickets are $30 to $55. For show times or to buy tickets, go to or call 604-631-2877.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Chilliwack born-and-raised actor Adam Charles (blue shirt) plays the lead role of Jack Kelly in Newsies by Theatre Under the Stars. (Lindsay Elliott)

Just Posted

Chilliwack school board trustees change up leadership

Dan Coulter re-elected board chair but Willow Reichelt out as vice-chair, David Swankey in

Surrey woman arrested in Chilliwack after stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

Bizarre ‘hole punch cloud’ forms over Chilliwack

Several people posted images of the odd formation, which is scientifically known as a cavum

Reviving the tradition of the lunch box social at Chilliwack Hampton House

It was a Chartwell ‘Moment that Matters’ for 90-year-old Vern Drader of Chilliwack

A mix of Christmas songs and Celtic chorals with Welsh Men’s Choir at Chilliwack Cultural Centre

One hundred voices singing in harmony, it’s Christmas with the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir

VIDEO: Christmas-tree-sized hedge theft captured on Chilliwack security video

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

10,000 affordable rentals a year needed to tackle Metro Vancouver housing crisis: report

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

B.C. patients wait 41% longer than national average to see a walk-in doctor: Medimap

The longest wait time was found in Sidney, B.C., where patients waited an average of 180 minutes

Most Read