Newsies:The Broadway Musical
Directed by: Jeff Calhoun
Starring: Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Steve Blanchard, Ben Fankhauser
Release Date: 2/16/17
Reviewed by: Scott Green
FA Scorecard: A
In Newsies, the Broadway Musical, Jeremy Jordan reprises his starring role as Jack Kelly, the leader of the Newsies. (If you don’t know the history behind this term, check out my previous article on the history of this musical.) Kara Lindsay returns as Katherine Plumber, the young news reporter who sheds the light on the young strikers and Steve Blanchard once again plays Joseph Pulitzer, the newspaper tycoon who raises the newsie price for newspapers in order to increase his own profits.
Movie musicals have successfully made their comeback in recent years and they have earned their rightful place in American entertainment. Usually though, musical feature films are only cinematic interpretations of already successful Broadway shows. They simply bring the story to the big screen. Very seldom do these stage shows get the national attention or exposure due to their high-ticket costs and limited runs. However, when a staged production as entertaining and successful as NEWSIES comes along, it deserves to be seen just as it was written and envisioned, as a live stage production.
I have been a life-long fan of musicals, on both stage and screen. Very seldom does one come along and inspire or move me as emotionally or as powerfully as Newsies has. The message truly resonates. After all, nearly everyone can identify with being bullied by someone who is stronger and more powerful than they are. When you see these poor children being taken advantage of by a greedy tycoon, you instantly feel their pain. When certain events bring them together to strike and fight back, your heart will swell with pride and you’ll feel as though you are striking along beside them.
Newsies has more than just young boys on strike, singing and dancing though. The story also has romance with a complicated twist that might surprise you. If you love romance, the ballad “Something to Believe in” during the second act is a powerful anthem for all young lovers. This stirring duet will touch your heart and will surely make you smile.
Ben Fankhouser and and Ethan Steiner play brothers Davey and Les, the two newest newsboys who are immediately befriended by Jack and his team. These two characters allow us to view the story from their perspective as we watch them learn the ways of the street and how to survive on their own. They become our connection to this world of orphans and runaways. This helps us to fall in love with their fighting spirit and enduring street charm. In fact, they act more like brothers fighting for each other against a common enemy than just orphans on the street.
Newsies opens with Jack and his best friend Crutchie, a fellow Newsie who dreams of a better life away from the big city in a small town called Sante Fe. Then we are introduced to the other boys as they prepare for another day of carrying the banner out in the streets. That’s where we first meet Davy and Les, who are new at selling papes, but under the tutelage of Jack, they learn quickly. The opening numbers of ‘Sante Fe’ and ‘Carry the Banner’ will leave you breathless after watching the amazing choreography. As the story progresses, these boys definitely sing and dance their way into your heart.
When Joseph Pulitzer unveils his devious plan of raising the newsie price for his own greedy profit, you’ll be drawn into the drama and how it affects these poor boys who are trying to earn their living. I was reminded of several times when the powers-that-be took advantage of me over the years and I was too powerless or weak to fight back for what I knew was right. Seeing these boys join together and take on the most powerful men in New York City was like watching David take on Goliath the giant. This becomes a beautiful story for the little man, the underdog who isn’t afraid to fight fire with fire. You must tune in to watch the ultimate inspirational showdown that will leave your heart full of pride and feeling good about life again.
It takes more than just a strong cast to make a show like Newsies so successful. It’s the combined talents of the musicians, stage hands, choreography, makeup, costumes and backstage crews that make a live production come together on stage and live on forever in your memories. And with this one as well, the songs are so engaging and powerful, you’ll be singing these tunes along with the characters and long after the final curtain falls.
Since this is a Disney production, there isn’t much content for parents to be concerned about. However there is some mild profanity and mild violence between the striking newsboys and some goons hired to beat the strike out of them. Nothing sexual or adult inuendos though, just good clean fun for the entire family.
The only place to catch Newsies currently is through online streaming on Netflix or for purchase or rent through major online streaming services, including Disney Anywhere.
If you are a fan of musicals or musical theater, then NEWSIES: The Broadway Musical is a must see event!