Theater Review - Newsies (NY)

You will feel like “King of New York” when you see “Newsies.”


Finally, a full-fledged, fully-developed optimistically joyous American musical that boasts an excellent Book written by Harvey Fierstein, a beautiful original Score by Alan Menken, and Jack Feldman’s clear, lucid Lyrics that tell the story!


“Newsies ,” based on David Nasaw’s book, “Children of the City: at Work and Play,” and the flop of a Disney film, “Newsies” has legs. With over 30 in the young exciting cast, costumed by Jess Goldstein, directed by Jeff Calhoun and cleverly choreographed by Christopher Gatelli on Tobin Ost’s metal, many-level set that goes right to the rafters, lit by Jeff Croiter and led by dynamic Jeremy Jordan, this musical, which has already been extended, will be around for a long run. The result of all the hard work that has gone into “Newsies” is a really big show with an intimate warm ambiance that glows.


Do you remember when newspapers were the most important form of communication? Well “Newsies” takes us back to those times, exactly 1899, when newspapers, like “The Sun” and “The World,” owned by wealthy robber barons like Hearst and Pulitzer, depicted by John Dossett, were distributed by young boys, most of them homeless ragamuffins—I hadn’t heard that expression in a long time---called “Newsies.” They were forced to buy the “papes” for 50 cents for one hundred; if they couldn’t sell them, they had to throw them away.


The guy who changed all that was named Kid Blank, here renamed Jack Kelly, played with the right amount of dash by Jeremy Jordan, who was Clyde in the show that failed earlier in the season. What a lucky break! When Pulitzer raises his prices, Kelly refuses to go along.  He is assisted in bringing his struggling boys to join him by Davey, the intelligent actor Ben Fankhauser and his little brother, Les, the very young actor Matthew J. Schechter, who is destined for stardom.  Joined by a girl reporter, Pulitzer’s daughter, Katherine, the lovely spirited Kara Lindsay, they try to form a union to fight the financial increase and the terrible conditions of children in every borough of the city.


Kelly, an artist, dreams of leaving NY in the beautifully wistful, “Santa Fe,” fights back in the stirring, “The World Will Know” and “Seize the Day,” and triumphs in the brilliant anthem, “King of New York.” Capathia Jenkins is a soulful Medda Larkin; Andrew Keenan-Bolger, plucks at the heart strings as Crutchie, a crippled Newsie, and Dan Levine plays a mean trombone in the fine orchestra led by Conductor Mark Hummel. The music never overwhelms the action or the words. How about that!


“Newsies” at the Nederlander. Good for the whole family.

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