Wayzata Actor Stars In Newsies

This summer, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres presents Newsies, the story of Les Jacobs, a young newspaper boy (a “newsie”) whose older compatriots are working on a strike against the indomitable publisher. 13-year-old Tanner Zahn Hagen lives in Wayzata during the show’s run, and  shares the role of Les with another young actor, which allows them both to pursue regular “kid” stuff, while living out their dreams of acting in the prestigious CDT company. “Les wants to be like the newsies,” says Tanner. “He gets annoyed when [his brother] David won’t let him do much.” Instead of looking up to David, says Tanner, Les idolizes another older newsie, Jack, and become his cheering section as the strike drags on. Tanner says he “adds hope” to the character of Les.

CDT public relations director Kris Howland says the two actors playing Les bring something different to the role. And, it’s a practical solution. Howland says CDT’s director Michael Brindisi feels a child ought to be able to act in a CDT production and still be a kid: still have time for school, family and birthday parties. “It’s an expensive policy,” says Howland, but the payoff is big. “We do get a lot of families with children in our audiences.”