Newsies Is The New Annie: My Review Of The Male Urchin Musical

Categories: Theater

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Let's table the palaver and get down to business, to quote one of the characters.

Newsies the Musical -- based on the so-so 1992 movie about striking newsboys -- is a slick, entertaining show that's sort of like Annie meets Billy Elliot.

As in the movie, the boys are selling their "papes" (i.e., newspapers) in 1899 when Joseph Pulitzer decides to up the distribution price.

They strike, fight back, and do pretty well, but not without struggle -- and lots of singing and dancing.

The show (which originated at Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse last year) is not exactly profound, and it's somewhat mechanical in that it's very dialogue-song/dialogue-song.

But it represents the height of Broadway professionalism, boasting a diverse score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, a tight book by Harvey Fierstein, sumptuous sets by Tobin Ost, and vigorous staging by director Jeff Calhoun and choreographer Christopher Gattelli.

It's one big, well-oiled machine -- literally, in the case of the moving risers -- and several times, it erupts into leaping and spinning that has the audience catching its breath.

As the leader of the strikers, Jeremy Jordan is engaging, with a slightly dangerous edge giving his charisma extra oomph and a vulnerability that makes his doubts about continuing the newsies' battle believable.

(His ballad "Santa Fe" could be this year's answer to Book of Mormon's ode to "Salt Lake City," though it's not at all satirical.)

There's also a disabled newsie named "Crutchie" (Andrew Keenan-Bolger), who's beaten and disappears, the second act strangely opening with a happy, bouncy group number.

Of course there's also a love interest (Kara Lindsay), but she's got a little secret -- one that's easily resolved for plot purposes.

And just as FDR helped Annie, his fifth cousin Teddy Roosevelt waddles in to Newsies, as everyone spits on their hands and shakes, while using thick New Yawk accents.

Like I said, it's not deep -- and it sort of just ends -- but it's zippy fun, and it's so expertly done, I might even write about it in the pape, too.

Extra! Extra! Newsies is a hit.


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mornex1
mornex1

And just as FDR helped Annie, his fifth cousin Teddy Roosevelt waddles in to Newsies, as everyone spits on their hands and shakes, while using thick New Yawk accents

http://sexcamscity.com/

Musto
Musto

It's a slick, fun moneymaker versus something offbeat and generally admired. It'll be interesting to see how the race shapes up. Generally the feelgood show (Memphis, Billy Elliot) beats the arty one (Fela, Next to Normal), though it's not a done deal yet.

CMG
CMG

There already seems to be two camps for Tony-time.  You're either in on Once (which I saw and liked despite my early trepidations in deviating from the film) or you are with Newsies (which I have not seen but the film is a guilty pleasure).  Even fans of Once seem already defeated because the show is not the moneymaker many people expect Newsies to be and $$$$ will factor in with the Tonys.  

Blissbaby
Blissbaby

Yes, they can re-use the hanging strips of mylar from Little Mermaid.

Musto
Musto

I'm the new Dionne Warwicke!

nostradavid
nostradavid

Will you be my Psychic Friend (without my credit card #) ?Disney could take this underwater for a Sea Urchin Musical.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Musto has psychic powers!

He predicted uncannily Benny Brantley's reaction to "Newsies."

Can a psychic hotline be far behind?

 

MartinNYID
MartinNYID

glad you like...and it doesn't look by far the worst, but ANOTHER REMAKE this time from a film??

*bored with broadway*

Musto
Musto

I know, but at least it's an adaptation of a flop film.

I find that more adventurous than just taking a hit movie and making it a musical.

MartinNYID
MartinNYID

ok... lemonade... got it... I'm with ya

however, the Pinters, Albees, Becketts, Millers and others of today cannot emerge because the disneyfunctional and webberonified showboat called LOUD gorges on every inch of theatre space...but then again, the coddled masses lap it up... *sigh*

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

I hope the love interest's "secret" is that she's a lesbian .

But this is a Disney show, isn't it?

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

Sounds like a good time, despite the provisos. I'll see what "the papes" say too before buying a ticket, though.

Proudrebel
Proudrebel

I love your reviews. You are always on the money.

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