NEWS FLASH, PARAMOUNT NEWSIES IS A HIT!
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about! It was Friday the 13th and the commute from Downtown Chicago to Aurora, which usually takes only 45 minutes took over two hours. That combination is enough to ruin a Friday evening; however, if you were traveling to Paramount Theater to see Newsies like we were, then you were in for a treat.
Art often imitates life in creative ways. Based on a true story, the 1992 musical film which was inspired by actual events regarding the strike by newspaper boys in New York City against New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer; who raises the prices that the newsies must pay to buy newspapers. The rise in price infuriates the newsies, so led by an outspoken and streetwise kid name Jack Kelly, these homeless and orphaned children of immigrants orchestrate a citywide strike; refusing to purchase and sell newspapers.
The original Disney film Newsies which starred Christian Bale as Jack, Bill Pullman, and the incredible Robert Duvall and Ann Margret wasn’t received well and was considered a box office bomb, but revived into a successful stage production that won Two Awards for Best Choreography and Best Score. With music by eight-time Oscar-winning Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, Harvey Fierstein book, Newsies at the Paramount Theater is definitely worth the ride out to Aurora. The singing and acting was exceptional and barring a few dancers being a little out of sync, News flash, Paramount’s production of Newsies is a HIT!
The star of the show by far was Alex Prakken as Jack Kelly. Prakken had the perfect vocal range and was spot on as the wayward rebellious orphan Jack, fighting against the Goliath newspaper tycoon. Other great performances came from Michael Kurowski ( Crutchie), Koray Tarhan (Davey) and Nathaniel Buescher (Les). Kudos to the fantastic production team for the great music, “Sante Fe,” “The World Will Know,” “Carrying the Banner,” to name a few, the outstanding choreography, and design which included Joshua Blake Carter, choreographer; Tom Vendafreddo, music director and conductor and William Boles, scenic designer; and Susan Gosdick, who did a notable job as the dialect coach.
The inspiring tale of Newsies is a classic story about how the disadvantage fight against exploitation to overcome the greed of those with wealthy desires to exploit them. It challenges society will to see all humanity as equals regardless of race, creed, or color. At one point we were waiting for Spencer Tracey, Father Flanagan, and Mickey Romney as Whitey Marsh (Boys Town) to pop from behind the curtain to encourage the boys to fight on against the evil orphanage Warden Snyder.
Overall ‘Newsies’ delivered right on time with a refreshing cast that tugged at your heart with Michael Kurowski as Crutchie, you wanted to root for him from beginning to end, and the pint-sized actor Les played by Nathaniel Buescher, who was the scene-stealer for the night. Then there was the tyrant publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Bret Tuomi) of the New York World, who played his role to the perfection of being a shrewd businessman.
Although Newsies was dominated by men, kudos to Justine Cameron as KatherinePlumber the daughter of Pulitzer who played a brash young journalist who decided to make her own way in life and not to be a woman of leisure because she was born into it. Another young lady that was making a difference in the lives of others was the vaudeville-style theatre owner the glamourous Medda Larkin played by Jerica Exum who stands firmly for the newsboys’ strike for fair pay.
Let’s Play ‘Highly Recommends’ Newsies at the Paramount Theater in Aurora.
PARAMOUNT THEATRE PRESENTS
NEWSIES: The Musical
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Jack Feldman
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Directed by Jim Corti
September 13th – October 20th
Filed under: ChicagoNow