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'Newsies' tour prepares for a nationwide tour led by a Pittsburgh-area rising star

Dan DeLuca is pictured during rehearsals for

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Dan DeLuca is pictured during rehearsals for "Newsies" at New 42nd Street Studios on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Disney Theatrical Productions

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The North American tour of the Broadway hit "Newsies" is about to high-kick its way from coast to coast, led by a 22-year-old actor who'll make a triumphant homecoming in Pittsburgh just in time for Thanksgiving.

Dan DeLuca will be playing leading man Jack Kelly in the Tony Award-winning show, which marks his first major acting credit. "I'm so thrilled, so excited," says the native of McMurray, Pennsylvania, close to Pittsburgh. "It kind of blows my mind a little bit."

The tour hits 25 cities over the next year include Cleveland, Louisville, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. It makes its official opening in Philadelphia in late October.

DeLuca will be joined by Stephanie Styles as the love interest Katherine Plumber and Jacob Kemp as best friend Davey. Steve Blanchard, a veteran Beast from Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast," will play Joseph Pulitzer.

"Newsies" is based on the 1899 true story of child newspaper sellers in turn-of-the-century New York who go on strike. A 1992 film, starring Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall and Ann-Margret, did poorly at the box office but has become something of a cult hit.

DeLuca and a friend managed to catch "Newsies" on Broadway with the original Jack Kelly — Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan — after losing a lottery for tickets and getting standing-room only space. "It's funny. I was watching Jeremy and I was like, 'That is definitely a role I would love to play,'" he says. "It kind of became my dream role."

Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, who were responsible for the film score, teamed up again to transform "Newsies" into a musical for the stage, reworking the songs and collaborating with the new story writer, Harvey Fierstein, known for his work in "Hairspray," ''La Cage aux Folles" and "Torch Song Trilogy."

The new musical, which won Tonys for best score and choreography, retains the memorable songs "Santa Fe," ''The World Will Know," ''Carrying the Banner," ''Seize the Day" and "King of New York," but adds a young female reporter to the story and plenty of muscular, high-impact dancing with sets that move quickly.

DeLuca, whose credits include playing Gabe in "Next to Normal" at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont and Danny in Stephen Schwartz's "Snapshots" at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, will be on his first tour.

"It's amazing that they have faith in me. It's something that I know I can do," he says. "It's going to be quite a workout. I was told by Jeremy and Corey Cott who replaced him that there's nothing you can do to prepare. You just have to get out there and do it."

The tour will pull into Pittsburgh and start performances at the Benedum Center on Nov. 25. "I get to be home for Thanksgiving and the whole family gets to come," he says. "I've told the cast they're more than welcome to come to my house for Thanksgiving. We can have a 'Newsies' feast."

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Online: http://www.NewsiesTheMusical.com

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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