Fans of the 1992 film Newsies are finally getting what many have wished for years: the film has finally been brought to life on stage. The stage musical of Newsies, a film that has developed a cult-like following over the years, celebrated its opening night tonight at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The show, which began previews on September 15, will continue its run through October 16.
Newsies tells the tale of a group of courageous newsboys, who fight for their rights when powerful newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise their prices at the newsies’ expense. Led by newsie Jack Kelly, who dreams of a better life, the newsboys take action and strike. Fans have been demanding the film be brought to the stage for years; according to theatrical licensing agency MTI, the film has long been the single most requested title by both professional and amateur theatre companies. Now, Disney has finally heeded the fans’ call and brought the show, which was inspired by the real life “Newsboy Strike of 1899” to life. While the show contains a few changes from the original film, including the introduction of a new female lead, Katherine, the spirit and substance of the original film has largely been retained for the show’s theatrical debut.
Bringing this new production to life on stage is Tony nominated director Jeff Calhoun, known for his work on such Broadway shows as Big River, Grease, Brooklyn, and the upcoming Broadway musical Bonnie and Clyde. Joining him in adapting Newsies from screen to stage are the film’s original composer, Disney Legend Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), lyricist Jack Feldman, and Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy), who has penned a new book for the musical. The show will be choreographed by Christopher Gattelli.
Leading the show’s cast as newsie Jack Kelly is Jeremy Jordan, who has previously appeared on Broadway in West Side Story and Rock of Ages, and will also be performing in the upcoming Bonnie and Clyde. Joining him are Tony nominee John Dossett as newspaper giant Joseph Pulitzer, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, RJ Fattori and Vincent Agnello sharing the role of Les, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, Tommy Bracco as Spot Conlon, Brendon Stimson as Oscar Delancey, Mike Faist as Morris Delancey, and Kara Lindsay as Katherine.
Rounding out the cast are Mark Aldrich (Seitz), Helen Anker (Medda), John E. Brady (Wiesel), Kevin Carolan (Roosevelt), Julie Foldesi (Ms. Baum), Stuart Marland (Snyder), Michael McArthur, Jack Scott, Nick Sullivan (Bunsen) and Laurie Veldheer (Hannah) with Aaron J. Albano, Ryan Breslin, Kyle Coffman, Max Ehrich, JP Ferreri, Garett Hawe, Corey Hummerston, Evan Kasprzak, Andy Richardson, Scott Shedenhelm and Ryan Steele.
Take a sneak peek at Newsies with some great clips from the new show. The first clip takes a behind-the-scenes look at the musical with clips from the show’s sitzprobe, which is when the cast performs the music from the show with a full orchestra for the first time:
The second video showcases the show’s appearance on TV talk show The View, in which they perform the numbers “Seize the Day” and the reprise of “Santa Fe.”:
Tickets for Newsies at the Paper Mill Playhouse range in price from $25-$96, and can be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at www.papermill.org, or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse box office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ.