Broadway Review: Newsies

Show Title: Newsies

Theater: Nederlander

Cast: Corey Cott, Liana Hunt, Jeremy Greenbaum, Andy Richardson, John Dossett, LaVon Fisher-Wilson

My Rating: 5 Stars

Content Rating: 10+

Should I pay full price for a ticket: I saw Newsies twice while I was in NYC, once with a full price ticket and once with a $30 rush ticket. The full price ticket was definitely a much better seat as my rush ticket was a partial view seat. I recommend getting a Mezzanine seat, since you’ll see the choreography from a great angle.

Trailer:

I waited very impatiently for three years to see this show. I grew up watching the movie, and I could not have been more thrilled to hear it was moving to Broadway. All of the videos I had seen were absolutely insane, and I couldn’t wait to see all the amazing dancing and acrobatics those boys throw out there every night.

I was not disappointed.

Newsies is another Disney show, so while the storyline/theme may not be earthshattering, the production quality is incredible. Just imagine it: you make your way through this short expository opening with the main character and his best friend (hearing some beautiful singing and getting to know the two characters) and then suddenly you’re thrust into an 8 minute number of fifteen 20 year old guys singing and doing the most ridiculous and intense choreography. And random backflips. On top of that, you have these three fire escape towers that are built from the floor to the ceiling that move from the back of the stage to the front and spin. So all this happens in the first number, and you think, it can’t get any better.

The song ends, the audience goes wild.

And then they reprise the opening song. A few times. I’m of the opinion that if you’ve got a good thing going, it’s not a bad idea to milk it. Newsies has an amazing thing going with “Carrying the Banner” and they milk it for all its worth, making it one of my top favorite opening numbers.

The basic storyline of the show follows Jack Kelly and his fellow newsboys as they strike against Pulitzer, newspaper tycoon, who has raised the price of the newspapers the Newsies buy to sell to the citizens of NYC. The plot is nothing complicated, but it’s full of angst, righteous indignation towards injustice, the strength of friendship, and, as any good Disney story must have, romance.

The show goes on in this wildly entertaining manner, and at some point, you start wondering if the creators sat down and said, lets just see how entertaining we can make this show. But somewhere in the middle, probably around the part where Crutchie (Jack’s best friend with a lame leg) gets brutally dragged offstage by the bad guys, driving Jack to belt out “Santa Fe”, you realize that you really care about these characters. Sure, they don’t look underfed or homeless, and they have impeccable dancing skills, but at some point, Disney worked it’s magic and made you the Newsies’ biggest fan.

So like I said earlier, the plot is pretty simple, with some adorable romance and a great David and Goliath story. The big selling point for this show is definitely the music and the choreography. The score is primarily made up of rousing anthems sung by the Newsies, which are stirring enough to make even the least interested theater goer inspired. The dancing ranges from tap to jazz to acrobatics to intricate fight choreography. The most popular number is definitely “Seize the Day”, which is not only one of the most stirring songs musically, but also involves some incredible choreography. Check it out:

I don’t know about you, but that certainly makes me want to give a standing ovation.

I love the choreography in this show not only because its amazing, but because its so masculine. It really channels the angst and energy of teenage boys.

Corey Cott and Liana Hunt boldly led this cast with fantastic acting and singing. I was sad I couldn’t see Jeremy Jordan (I was very lucky to see him in his limited run in Bonnie and Clyde a few years ago), but Corey Cott blew me away as Jack, especially with his gorgeous and heartbreaking rendition of “Santa Fe”. Liana Hunt was adorable and spunky as Katherine, showing us a myriad of confused emotions in her patter song “Watch What Happens”. And of course, all the Newsies impressed, with their incredible triple threat skills.

Another of my favorite numbers was the Act 2 Opener “King of New York”, in which Katherine leads the newsboys in a fun tap number as they muse about their fifteen minutes of fame:

This was one of my favorite shows that I saw in NYC, and I would love to one day play Katherine. I’m definitely the crying type (I cry straight through Broadway shows especially), and the second time I saw this show, I teared up as we got in line to enter the theater. That’s how excited I was.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize a lot of the songs, but let me tell you, the dancing and singing is FAR superior in the show. But I promise, if you are a fan of the 1992 movie version, the Broadway show will NOT disappoint.

Unfortunately, we just heard that Newsies will be closing this fall. Amazingly enough, when it first opened on Broadway, it was scheduled for a limited engagement of less than a year, and now it’s in its third year. That is quite successful for a Broadway show. So if you’re going to be in NYC this summer, put this one at the top of your list, because I guarantee you’ll be entertained. Otherwise, you’ll have to catch the national tour of Newsies, which is also starting later this year. I know I’ll be going.

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