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Newsies The Musical is a musical based on the 1992 musical film Newsies, which in turn was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. The show has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein based on film's screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2012, where it played for more than 1,000 performances before touring.
Paper Mill Playhouse (2011)
Newsies The Musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey from September 25, 2011 through October 16. The production was directed by Jeff Calhoun with choreography by Christopher Gattelli. This production was later transferred to Broadway with several changes in the music and actors.
The musical opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre for a limited engagement starting in previews on March 15, 2012, and officially on March 29, 2012. On May 16, 2012, Disney announced that Newsies was an open-ended engagement. The engagement was extended through August 19, 2012, after the first previews.The original cast of the Broadway production featured Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly and John Dossett as newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer. The cast also included Kara Lindsay as Katherine Plumber, Capathia Jenkins as Medda Larkin, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, and Lewis Grosso and Matthew Schechter sharing the role of Les. The Broadway production cost about $5 million to stage. Newsies recouped its initial investment of $5M in 7 months, becoming the fastest of any Disney musical on Broadway to turn a profit.Producers announced on August 14, 2012, due to his commitments with NBC's Smash, leading man Jordan would exit the musical on September 4. It was also confirmed that newcomer Corey Cott (who became his alternate earlier in the month due to Jordan's production requirements for Smash) would be his replacement beginning September 5.The musical closed on August 24, 2014, having played 1,004 performances.
National tour (2014-2016)
The musical began a North American tour on October 11, 2014, commencing in Schenectady, NY. During the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons, the tour was expected to play 25 cities, over 43 weeks. It concluded its run on October 2, 2016 in Austin, TX after 784 performances in 65 cities across the US and Canada.Following the end of the tour, a limited theatrical release was announced for February 2017. This three-day release grossed $3.47 million. Disney then announced the musical production would be available digitally on May 23, 2017. On August 24, 2017, Disney announced the filmed production of Newsies would be available on Netflix from September 10.
Act IIn the early hours of the morning in 1899 New York City, newspaper delivery boy Jack Kelly tells his disabled friend, Crutchie, of his dream to one day leave New York for Santa Fe ("Santa Fe" (Prologue)). Jack lives with his fellow "newsies," many of whom are orphaned and homeless. As the sun rises, the newsies awaken and prepare for another day on the job ("Carrying the Banner"). While buying their supply of papers to sell, Jack meets Davey and his little brother, Les. Unlike the rest of the newsies, Davey and Les have a home and a family. They started work as newsies because their father suffered an accident at work resulting in the termination of his employment. Seeing young Les as an opportunity to sell more papers, Jack offers to help the boys. Meanwhile, the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, increases the cost of the newspapers to the delivery boys, so as to outsell his competitors ("The Bottom Line").
Later, Jack, Davey, and Les are chased down by Warden Snyder of The Refuge, a juvenile detention center. The boys find cover in a vaudeville-style theatre owned by Jack's friend Medda Larkin, whom he regularly paints backdrops for. Jack refuses to tell Davey why Snyder was after him. The boys then watch Medda perform ("That's Rich"). While at the show, Jack spots a young female reporter named Katherine Plumber. He attempts to flirt with her, but she brushes him off as he does a drawing of her. Jack laments his blossoming feelings for her as the show continues ("Don't Come A-Knocking"/"I Never Planned on You"). The next morning, Jack and the newsies discover that the cost of newspapers has been raised to sixty cents per hundred. Outraged, Jack organizes a protest ("The World Will Know"). Katherine is inspired by Jack's leadership and artistic abilities, and sees the newsies' strike as an opportunity to be seen as a more serious journalist, something she struggles with because of society's view of women, and decides to cover the protest ("Watch What Happens"). The next day, Jack fails to properly motivate the newsies, as he isn't always the best with words, but Davey steps in and rallies the newsies for a full scale strike against the New York World ("Seize the Day"). The protest is cut short when the boys are engaged in confrontations with the police and strikebreakers. During the commotion, Crutchie is beaten, apprehended, and taken to the refuge. Jack, upset at the protest's failure and the capture of Crutchie, laments the situation and promises himself that he'll soon leave New York forever ("Santa Fe").
Act IIThe next morning, Katherine visits the sulking newsies in Jacobi's Deli and cheers them up by showing them that her article about the strike made the front page of the New York Sun. Thrilled, the newsies all rejoice at making the headline and imagine what it would be like to be famous ("King of New York"). Meanwhile, Crutchie writes a letter to Jack, reflecting his experience at the Refuge ("Letter from the Refuge"). Davey, Katherine, and Les later find Jack hiding out in the basement of Medda's theatre, painting a backdrop of Santa Fe. Davey and Katherine attempt to decide their next move, but Jack refuses to put the newsies in danger again. Davey reminds him that they'll have to take risks in order to get Crutchie back. Jack eventually complies ("Watch What Happens" (reprise)).
Back at the World, Pulitzer converses with Warden Snyder about Jack while Katherine listens. Snyder reveals that Jack is actually an escaped criminal, originally detained for stealing food and clothing. Jack soon arrives and confronts Pulitzer. During the conversation, Pulitzer reveals that he is actually Katherine's father. Katherine, who was hiding in the room, tries to apologize to Jack for not telling him, but Jack brushes her off as he is led by Snyder into the cellar. Pulitzer offers Jack a compromise: if the strike is called off, he will be cleared of all charges and given enough money to leave for Santa Fe, but if not, he and the other newsies will be sent to the refuge ("The Bottom Line" (reprise)). Meanwhile, Spot Conlon, head of the newsies in Brooklyn, brings in his ranks in full support of Jack's protest ("Brooklyn's Here"). Jack gathers the newsies, and not wanting to put them in any more danger, reluctantly suggests they accept Pulitzer's offer. Davey and the newsies are shocked at Jack and turn their back on him. Jack later meets with Katherine once more and she tells him that despite her namesake, she was always on Jack's side. She also criticizes Jack for not being honest with her about ending up in the refuge for stealing. However, after seeing a drawing Jack made depicting the abuse conducted at the refuge, she realizes Jack stole the food and clothing for the other boys there. The two share a brief romantic moment and Katherine states that "I have something to believe in, now that I know you believed in me". Jack admits that the feeling is mutual, and they kiss ("Something to Believe In").
Jack and Katherine then join the newsies in printing their own paper; one that will determine the outcome of the strike ("Once and for All"). The newsies' paper is sent to Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who arrives in full support of the newsies' cause. Defeated, Pulitzer compromises with Jack once more. Jack proposes that Pulitzer buy back every paper the newsies fail to sell every day, thus making him seem more generous and making more boys want to sell papers for him. Pulitzer is reluctant at first, but agrees. Crutchie is freed, Snyder is arrested, the refuge is shut down, and the strike ends. Pulitzer offers Jack a job as a daily political cartoonist, which Jack initially declines. Jack prepares to say goodbye to Katherine, as he now plans to leave for Santa Fe, but Katherine says that wherever he goes she will go with him. The two share a kiss, and Jack elects to remain a newsboy and accept the cartoonist job ("Finale").
Broadway cast changes
Corey Cott replaced Jordan as Jack Kelly on September 5, 2012.
Ron Raines temporarily replaced Dossett as Joseph Pulitzer from October 9, 2012 to December 16, 2012.
Mike Faist was an understudy for Jack Kelly and played Jack from late November to early December 2012.Differences with the 1992 film
In addition to the songs from the original movie, Newsies The Musical contains several new numbers such as 'Brooklyn's Here' and 'Something To Believe In'. The songs "My Lovey Dovey Baby" and "High Times Hard Times" were removed and replaced by the singular song "That's Rich", which is performed by the same character, Medda Larkin, while the remaining songs were rewritten to fit the changes in the storyline between the film and the musical. The characters of Sarah Jacobs (Davey and Les's sister and Jack's original love interest) and the New York Sun reporter Brian Denton are replaced by the composite character, Katherine Plumber (later explained to be a pen name; she is revealed later to, in fact, be Joseph Pulitzer's daughter), a reporter with whom Jack falls in love. Also omitted was the solo for "Patrick's Mother". A scene with Jack, Davey, and Spot Conlon is absent, as is Spot's involvement in the fight between the newsies and scabbers; Spot doesn't appear until the rally.
The Paper Mill production drew critical acclaim. According to The New York Times: 'Newsies' will open in time to qualify for the Tony Award in a season when the Tony for best musical is seen as up for grabs; 'Newsies' is already considered a likely contender for a nomination even before the show opens...
In his review of the Broadway production, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote: As choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, they keep coming at us in full-speed-ahead phalanxes, fortified by every step in a Broadway-by-the-numbers dance book... Mr. Jordan...is a natural star who has no trouble holding the stage, even without pirouettes... Mr. Feldman's lyrics are spot-on, while the melody reminds us just how charming a composer Mr. Menken...can be.
The Broadway cast recording was released on iTunes April 10, 2012, from Ghostlight Records, and the CD was released on May 15. Six songs were added for the stage adaptation, including three newly written for the Broadway production since the Paper Mill Playhouse debut: The Bottom Line, That's Rich and Something to Believe In (replacing Then I See You Again, also written for the stage adaptation).
Filmed stage production
In July 2016, it was announced that Newsies would be filmed in Los Angeles with a limited national release in movie theaters from February 16–18, 2017. Due to high demand, a fourth showing was added for March 4, 2017. Some alumni from the Broadway production reprised their leading roles, notably Jeremy Jordan as Jack , Kara Lindsay as Katherine, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie and Tommy Bracco as Spot Conlon. Several ensemble tracks were added to the show to provide roles for swings. A two-day encore presentation of the production was shown in theaters on August 5 and 9, 2017.On the 25th anniversary of the original film's theatrical release, April 10, 2017, it was announced the filmed stage production would be released for digital download on May 23, 2017.
Honors and awards
Original Broadway production
Newsies The Musical at the Internet Broadway Database