Twins in Broadway hit ‘Newsies’ double the talent

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NEW YORK (AP) - Fans of the Broadway hit “Newsies” might be forgiven for doing a double take these days.

That’s because 17-year-old Jacob and David Guzman, who share the same DNA, are now sharing the stage at the Nederlander Theatre, so rare an event that no one in the theater community believes it has happened before in the modern era.

The identical twins from Brockton, Mass., are spending their senior year of high school in New York doing what they’ve seemingly always done _ dancing and being inseparable.

“We’ve always been with each other,” says David. “We’ve always had a great time with each other.” His brother, who happens to be 21 minutes older, echoes the feeling: “We just enjoy our company together.”

The award-winning dancers were toddlers when they got hooked on performing. They have endured bullying, danced in a segment of “Dancing With the Stars” and performed in the Fire Island Dance Festival. The twins now find themselves at a dancer’s pinnacle, but they almost walked away when both didn’t get roles in “Newsies.”

“This doesn’t happen,” says their proud mom, Karen Guzman, who has moved with the boys to New York, leaving husband, Rick, back in Massachusetts with the couple’s two daughters. “It’s one of those things you watch movies about.”

Over lunch between shows, Jacob and David come across warm and funny, articulate and sweet. When they order lunch, it’s an almost identical meal. Jacob asks for a crispy chicken sandwich, a bag of chips and a lime soda.

“I’ll have the same thing,” David says. Then he adds a salty caramel shake to his order. Jacob is tempted, but declines. “If you get the chocolate shake, I’ll drink it,” he tells his brother.

`THAT WAS FUN’

The Guzman boys fell into dance at an early age _ very early. Their mom remembers taking them to The Gold School dance studio in Brockton at age 2 because her two older daughters _ now 22 and 19 _ danced there.

The twins would tear around the studio waiting room. “I’d make them wear overalls so that I could hold onto their straps and they wouldn’t be able to go too far,” their mom says with a laugh.

One day, David, who was running at full speed, leapt into the air and belly-flopped into a glass cabinet. “He bounced right off, fell back, stood up, shook himself off and told Jacob, `That was fun. You should try it,’” Karen Guzman recalls.

A little while later, the twins walked past an open door and saw a class inside _ and they froze. “They just stood there and watched. We all laughed because I don’t think I’ve ever seen them so still, not even sleeping,” their mom says.

The next week, it happened again. At home, the boys would mimic the steps they had just seen. The director of the school soon suggested they join a class, and their love affair with dance began.

They endured taunts and teasing, even though they are popular and athletic _ both played soccer and tennis and seemed never out of breath. “It’s crazy to think about how someone would ridicule you for something you love,” Jacob says.

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