In 1992 I was 6 years old and was introduced to a movie that remains one of my all-time favorites. Showcasing an incredibly talented cast of young men (including my favorite Christian Bale!), Disney’s movie musical Newsies is based on the true story of the 1899 Newsboys Strike in New York City. The show-stopping tunes beg you to sing along and get your toes tapping. Nearly twenty years after the movie premiered and grew a cult-like following (guilty!), Disney brought the story to a new audience on Broadway.
I had the pleasure of seeing Newsies when the touring company came to Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa. The show drew a varied audience but as I gazed around the theater, I could easily spot my fellow 20-somethings who grew up watching the film and would be singing along. The story lines were nearly the same with a few new developments along the way. Jack Kelly leads a group of “newsies” who make up headlines and do whatever necessary to sell “papes” for Joseph Pulitzer and stay off the streets. After raising prices for the newsies, Pulitzer ultimately discovers their strength as they organize their efforts and lead a successful strike. Throw in the boy meets girl and they fall in love, a young boy named “Crutchie,” and a little villainy here and there and you have the main points.
The set was simple yet technically intriguing and while the story is heartwarming and uplifting, the show is essentially a few plot points to get you from one amazing showstopper to the next. Full of acrobatics, tap dancing on tables, mid-air splits, and pirouettes for days, highlights included “Carrying the Banner,” “The World Will Know,” and “Seize the Day.” Each song highlighted the cast’s amazing ensemble work and synchronicity and left me amazed at how these young actors exert that much energy for each audience they encounter.
For those who were unable to see the show, Disney is bringing the musical to nationwide audiences this February 16th, 18th, and 22nd. Check your local movie times to see if you will be able to capture a piece of the magic that Disney always delivers!