Newsies the musical: Extra, extra read all about it

Newsies the musical: Extra, extra read all about it
Morgan Keene (Katherine) and Joey Barreiro (Jack Kelly). North American Tour company of Disney’s NEWSIES. ©Disney. Photo by Shane Gutierrez.

Disney’s Newsies, the musical based on the true tale of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who sticks it to the man is in Chicago for a short run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (now through August 7).

The ‘man” actually is two men, the powerful nineteenth century publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst who decided to raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense when the boys were barely making it on the meager wages they were earning before.

Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro), the charismatic leader of the group, gets a radical idea for the times. He rallies the newsies to stop selling papers and to “strike” for what’s right.

The story is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.


Original company, North American Tour of NEWSIES. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

The stage show is based on the original Newsies–the 1992 Disney film with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by Harvey Fierstein.

The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2012.

When it opened on March 29, 2012, Newsies was intended for a Broadway run of just 101 performances. Instead it became a runaway hit with 1005 performances, attendance of more than 1 million and a gross of over $100M.

While on Broadway, Newsies set and broke seven Nederlander Theatre house records and became the highest-grossing show from the 2011-12 Broadway season. The show received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award® nods – and won Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography.

The North American touring Newsies now playing at Chicago’s Palace is perhaps one of the best productions since the show’s original blockbuster Broadway run.

The production features a highly talented cast cemented by a solid chemistry–offering a non-stop high-energy explosion of song and dance while telling a compelling story.

Here’s a look:

The production features Chicago natives Aisha de Haas as “Medda Larkin” and Anthony Norman as “Oscar Delancey,” as well as Joey Barreiro as “Jack Kelly,” Steve Blanchard as “Joseph Pulitzer,” Morgan Keene as “Katherine,” Stephen Michael Langton as “Davey,” Andy Richardson as “Crutchie” and Turner Birthisel and Ethan Steiner alternating the role of “Les.”

 Rounding out the cast are Bill Bateman, Josh Burrage, Kevin Carolan, Michael Dameski, Julian DeGuzman, Nico DeJesus, JP Ferreri, Sky Flaherty, Kaitlyn Frank, Michael Gorman, Stephen Hernandez, Meredith Inglesby, James Judy, Eric Scott Kincaid, Beth Stafford Laird, Devin Lewis, Eric Jon Mahlum, Nicholas Masson, Michael J. Rios, Jordan Samuels, Daniel Switzer, Andrew Wilson, Chaz Wolcott, Iain Young and Anthony Zas.


Original company, North American Tour of NEWSIES. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

The design by Tobin Ost is the perfect backdrop for the action–a simple series of metal cubes that can be used effectively for the high energy song and dance numbers provided by Christopher Gattelli’s outstanding choreography.

The stage version introduces seven brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman, including a song written specifically for the tour called ‘Letter from the Refuge,’ while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including ‘Carrying the Banner, ‘Seize the Day,’ ‘King of New York’ and ‘Santa Fe.’

Since the film’s 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD release, Newsies has grown into a cult phenomenon, and for years had been the single most requested title of all the Disney musical films not yet adapted for the stage.

Show information

Tickets: Tickets for Disney’s Newsies at the Cadillac Palace Theatre are on sale now at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line, 800 775 2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online.

Run: Now through August 7

Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

Rating: 4 stars

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