"Twinsies!" Identical Brothers Jacob and David Guzman Are Side by Side in Broadway's Newsies

By Michael Gioia
24 Oct 2012

Jacob and David on the TKTS stairs
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

When the creative team of the Tony-nominated Best Musical was on the search for a few new boys to join the ranks, Jacob and David were called in to audition. They were recommended to the musical's associate choreographer, Lou Castro, but did not realize that, at the time, there was only one spot to be filled.

"We were only going because [we thought] there were two open spots," stated Jacob. "Honestly, we probably wouldn't have gone if they said that there was only one spot." Although they knew that their days of inseparability would eventually come to an end, they promised they would see each other through until high school graduation. (They are in their senior year.) Their motto: "After that, we go from there."

So the boys turned down the opportunity to dance Christopher Gattelli's Tony Award-winning choreography; they didn't expect to hear back from Disney. "We said, 'Sorry… If [a second spot] opens up, we'd be glad to take it. They called us up when that spot did open up and said, 'We now have two spots open. Would you like to join our cast?' And, we automatically said yes!" David explained with laugh.

Joining a Broadway ensemble of triple threats could be quite nerve-wracking, considering Newsies was not only their first Broadway credit, but also their first musical. Although they both watched the 1992 Disney film and sang a medley of songs from the movie in their school district's chorus, they were now faced with picking up blocking, handling props and learning the athletic, energetic and high-flying choreography from Newsies dance captain Ryan Steele and assistant dance captain Michael Fatica.

With the twins a part of Newsies, a small change was added during the second-act opening number, "King of New York." David said, "They changed [the choreography] so that Mush — I — do a tap solo, and I pass it off to Sniper, my brother."

Jacob and David pose under their show's billboard in Times Square
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

But with the fun of performing on Broadway comes responsibility. At first, Jacob admitted, "Everything was really confusing — I had to come here, and I had to find an apartment, and then I had to work out school, and I had to work out how I was going to get to the city every day [from the new apartment in Queens]. It was just a lot to handle because I'm coming from [being] a junior in high school, who has never lived, essentially, on his own. I mean, my mom's here, too, but it's a big culture change. It was a big step."

The Guzmans are taking classes online — calculus, physics and English. ("I'm actually very good at math, so I don't mind it," said Jacob. "Both our parents are math teachers," added David). They will graduate on time, walk with their class at commencement and even be able to squeeze in prom. The twins are also beginning to think about their future — agents, auditions and college. "There's just a lot of options," said Jacob.

For now, they are taking in their senior year of high school as "Kings of New York." Because Thursday is their "off" day, their mother, Karen, has deemed it to be "field trip day." So far, the brothers have seen Bring It On: The Musical and Cyrano de Bergerac and took a trip to the Museum of Natural History.

They also enjoy hanging out with fellow Newsies cast members and hitting some of their favorite nearby spots. "I like Schnipper's," said Jacob. "And, dessert… I like Schmackary's — Schnips and Schmacks!" (His brother agreed.)

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

Watch the earlier Playbill Video about how the cast of Newsies warms up before performances.