Jacob Haen performs the song, "Letter from the Refuge."

Jacob Haen lends voice to ‘Newsies’, will be in ‘Footloose’ cast

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Haen performs on stage again.

Minneota junior Jacob Haen recently sang, “Letter from the Refuge,” from the musical “Newsies” at the inaugural Southwest State Minnesota University Children's Theatre Workshop in Marshall.

“I had a lot of fun,” he said. “And I gained a lot of knowledge about the professional theater and about the college theater.” Haen is no stranger to the stage, having performed in seven school plays and musicals.

He’s also been a member of the Minneota Speech Team since sixth grade, a member of the school choir since fifth grade, and also has been as a percussionist with the school band since fifth grade.

“I can't really explain why I like performing,” said Haen, who qualified for the State Speech meet last year in the Humorous category.

“There is a certain amount of adrenaline that kicks in, but there are always some nerves, too. I guess all I can really say is that I do it because it's fun.”

Haen and the cast of Annie, a Minneota school musical performed last year, attended a performance of “Newsies” at the Chanhassen Theatre last April.

“Newsies” was inspired by the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. Newsboys during that time period would stand on street corners and sell newspapers by barking out “Extra! Extra! Read all about it,” followed by the top story’s headline from that day.

In that musical, “Crutchie” ends up in the refuge (jail) for fighting and performs a song entitled, “Letter from the Refuge”, which is a letter he writes to his friend who is also in jail. It was from that musical that inspired Haen to play “Crutchie” in the SMSU Workshop.

Haen performed his number complete with a newsboy cap and crutch tucked under his right arm.

“I was actually assisting the third through eighth grade kids with 'The Aristocats' at the workshop,” Haen said.

“I heard about the workshop called ‘Cabaret’ that was for kids in grades 9 through 12, so I decided to join.” There were seven others in the Cabaret Workshop besides Haen.

All were from Marshall except for Haen and one student from Lakeview.

“Seven of us sang songs from different performances on the main stage and the other person was a stage manager,” Haen said.

Haen and others practiced for two weeks before an evening performance on June 15 and a matinee performance on June 16.

The cast of “The Aristocats” had two performances on June 15.

“I had Dan Smith as my instructor most of time during practices,” Haen said.

“We basically practiced our personal song for the first half of practice, and then we practiced our group number the other half of practice. The Cabaret was free and lasted about 45 minutes.”

Haen's high school speech coach Kim Gades attended the Friday performance and some of Haen's friends were on hand for the Saturday matinee.

Haen will be back on the stage this summer at the Lake Benton Opera House for the musical “Footloose”.

“This is the first time I've performed at the Lake Benton Opera House,” said Haen.

“My character is named Travis. I sing a number in a little group and I have a couple of lines.” “Footloose” will be performed from July 26 to Aug. 5 in Lake Benton.

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