NEWSIES - THE MUSICAL
Opened: Original Broadway Production - March 29, 2012
Newsies Director: Jeff Calhoun
Newsies Music By: Alan Menken
Newsies Lyrics and Book By: Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein
Theatre: Nederlander Theatre
Tony Award Nominations: None
Tony Awards Won: None
Notes: The show is based on the 1992 movie "Newsies," starring Christian Bale, Bill Pullman and Robert Duvall.
Based on the 1992 Disney film of the same name, Newsies - The Musical has become one of the hottest new shows on Broadway in 2012 and has opened to rave reviews. The show is loosely-based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899, a rare youth-led campaign that fought for fair wages for newsboys and was actually successful in increasing their pay. While the original Disney film received so-so reviews from critics, the new and improved version touches upon many of the themes that made the film popular and has added a few twists to improve upon its predecessor.
The musical follows a group of young newsboys named Jack Kelly and David Jacobs who are trying to make ends meet on the streets of New York City by selling newspapers for moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Jacobs is forced to leave school to help out his family while his father is out of work, and meets Kelly during his work on the streets. Because newsboys are supposed to buy the papers and sell them for a small profit, a pricing change by Hearst and Pulitzer causes great upheaval in the newsie community. The two boys work together to form one of the most important labor strikes of the late 19th century.
In a major change from the big screen version, Newsies - The Musical adds a love story to the mix that incorporates a sense of depth and passion to the play. A young reporter named Katherine, who replaced Bryan Denton from the movie, has been featured to bring in a romantic twist and help audience members become more emotionally-invested in the characters. As the show proceeds, Kelly and Jacobs are aided by Katherine, and eventually gain the trust of rival newsboys who win their strike against the newspaper bigwigs and become legends in their community.
The show only opened at the end of March 2012, so Broadway fans are still getting their first glimpse at the musical. With the original movie becoming a bit of a cult hit, suspense had been building for the premiere, and by and large, audiences have not left disappointed. By touching on a little-known event in America's labor history and tapping into a bit of early-'90s nostalgia, Newsies - The Musical has struck a unique chord in the Broadway world.