|Basis||1992 film Newsies|
by Bob Tzudiker
|Premiere||September 25, 2011Paper Mill Playhouse:|
|Productions||2011 Paper Mill Playhouse |
2014 United States tour
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Original Score|
Newsies The Musical is a musical based on the 1992 musical film Newsies, which was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. The show has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein based on the film's screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2012, where it played for more than 1,000 performances before touring.
Newsies The Musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, from September 25, 2011, through October 16. The production was directed by Jeff Calhoun with choreography by Christopher Gattelli. This production was later transferred to Broadway with several changes in the music and actors.
The musical opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre for a limited engagement starting in previews on March 15, 2012, and officially on March 29, 2012. On May 16, 2012, Disney announced that Newsies was an open-ended engagement. The engagement was extended through August 19, 2012, after the first previews.
The original cast of the Broadway production featured Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly and John Dossett as newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer. The cast also included Kara Lindsay as Katherine Plumber, Capathia Jenkins as Medda Larkin, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, and Lewis Grosso and Matthew Schechter sharing the role of Les. The Broadway production cost about $5 million to stage. Newsies recouped its initial investment of $5M in seven months, becoming the fastest of any Disney musical on Broadway to turn a profit.
Producers announced on August 14, 2012, due to his commitments with NBC's Smash, leading man Jordan would exit the musical on September 4. It was also confirmed that newcomer Corey Cott (who became his alternate earlier in the month due to Jordan's production requirements for Smash) would be his replacement beginning September 5.
The musical closed on August 24, 2014, having played 1,004 performances.
The musical began a North American tour on October 11, 2014, commencing in Schenectady, New York. During the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 seasons, the tour was expected to play 25 cities, over 43 weeks. It concluded its run on October 2, 2016 in Austin, Texas after 784 performances in 65 cities across the US and Canada.
On February 21, 2022, it was announced that the musical is scheduled to open that year in London. On March 8, 2022, it was announced that a brand new immersive in the round production directed and choreographed by Matt Cole opened at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in November 2022 with an official opening on 8 December. The original London cast includes Michael Ahomka-Lindsay as Jack Kelly, Bronté Barbé as Katherine Plumber, Moya Angela as Medda Larkin, Samuel Bailey as Specs, Josh Barnett as Race, Cameron Blakely as Joseph Pulitzer, Jack Bromage as Tommy Boy, Alex Christian as Buttons, Arcangelo Ciulla as Ike, George Crawford as Morris Delancey, Ross Dawes as Snyder, Joshua Denyer as Mush, Ross Dorrington as Splasher, Matthew Duckett as Crutchie, Jacob Fisher as Albert, Jamie Golding as Wiesel, Damon Gould as Finch, Alex James-Hatton as Oscar Delancey, Barry Keenan as Nunzio, Ryan Kopel as Davey, Sion Lloyd as Bunsen, George Michaelides as Romeo, Mukeni Nel as Jo Jo, Joshua Nkemdilim as Elmer, Mark Samaras as Mike, and Matt Trevorrow as Henry.
Following the end of the tour, a limited filmed theatrical release was announced for February 2017. The three-day release grossed $3.47 million. Disney then announced the musical production would be available digitally on May 23, 2017. On August 24, 2017, Disney announced the filmed production of Newsies would be available on Netflix from September 10. The film was made available on Disney's streaming service, Disney+.
In July 1899, a group of orphaned and homeless newsboys live in a Lower Manhattan lodging house with their informal leader, seventeen-year-old Jack Kelly. In the early hours of the morning, Jack tells his best friend, Crutchie, of his dream to one day leave New York for a better life out West ("Santa Fe (Prologue)"). As the sun rises, the rest of the newsies awaken and prepare for a day on the job, finding as much joy as they can in their life of poverty ("Carrying the Banner"). At the circulation gate, Jack meets a new newsboy named Davey and his nine-year-old brother Les. Unlike the other newsies, the brothers have a home and a loving family, and have been pulled out of school only temporarily to support their parents while their father is out of work with an injury. Seeing young Les as an opportunity to sell more papers, Jack offers to be their partner. Meanwhile, the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, expresses his displeasure at his newspaper's declining circulation. To increase his profits, he decides to increase the cost of the papers for the newsies, ignoring his secretary's concerns that "it's going to be awfully rough on those children" ("The Bottom Line").
Later, Jack, Davey, and Les are selling their final newspapers of the day when the corrupt Warden Snyder of the Refuge, a juvenile detention center, recognizes Jack as an escapee from his institution. He attempts to chase the boys down, but they find cover in a vaudeville-style theatre owned by Jack's friend Medda Larkin, whom he regularly paints backdrops for. As Medda performs ("That's Rich"), Jack spots a young female reporter named Katherine Plumber. She rebuffs Jack's attempts to flirt with her, but she is then charmed when he leaves her with a sketch of her portrait ("Don’t Come A-Knocking/I Never Planned on You").
The next morning, the newsies discover that the cost of newspapers has been raised to sixty cents per hundred. Outraged, Jack declares the newsies to be a union and organizes a protest ("The World Will Know"). Katherine decides to cover the strike, seeing it as an opportunity to be taken more seriously as a journalist ("Watch What Happens"). The next day, the boys have informed the rest of the city's newsies about the strike, but each neighborhood claims that they will only join once Spot Conlon, leader of the Brooklyn newsies, gives the okay. The newsies are discouraged by the lack of support, but Davey convinces them to protest regardless of who shows ("Seize the Day"). Scabs arrive to take the newsies' jobs, but are persuaded to join the strike by Jack, who delivers an impassioned speech condemning child labor and the city's treatment of the poor. The protest appears to be headed for success, but is soon cut short when Pulitzer's goon squad and the police arrive to break it up by force. During the ensuing fight, Crutchie is apprehended, badly beaten, and taken to the Refuge. A devastated Jack escapes to the lodging house rooftop and, blaming himself for the protest's failure, fantasizes about running away forever ("Santa Fe").
The next morning, Katherine finds the battered and bruised newsies in Jacobi's Deli, only to learn that no one knows where Jack is as rumors circulate about his whereabouts. She cheers the other newsies up by showing them that her article about the strike made the front page of the New York Sun. Thrilled, the boys rejoice at making the headline and imagine what it would be like to be famous ("King of New York"). However, Pulitzer has declared a blackout on strike news, meaning Katherine's story will be the only one to run. Meanwhile, Crutchie writes a letter to Jack, describing the filthy and abusive conditions at the Refuge. He asks Jack to make sure the newsies continue to look out for one another, signing the letter, "your brother, Crutchie" ("Letter from the Refuge"). Later, Davey finds Jack hiding out in the basement of Medda's theatre and informs him of his plan to hold a citywide rally in the theatre. Jack, distraught over Crutchie's arrest, refuses to put the other boys back in danger, but Davey, along with Katherine and Les, convinces him that their fight is too important to quit ("Watch What Happens (Reprise)").
Back at the World, an angry Pulitzer plots with Warden Snyder about how to stop Jack. Snyder reveals that Jack was originally sentenced to the Refuge for vagrancy, but has since become a "frequent visitor," with his most recent arrest being for trafficking stolen food and clothing. Jack soon arrives with an invitation for Pulitzer to attend the rally Davey has planned. Pulitzer declines, assuring Jack that no newspaper will violate the blackout order by covering the rally. Pulitzer claims that if it's not in the papers, it never happened. Jack attempts to counter by claiming the newsies already have a reporter on their side, but Pulitzer reveals that Katherine is his daughter and that "Plumber" is only her pen name. He offers Jack a choice: if the strike is called off, Jack will be cleared of all charges and given enough money to leave for Santa Fe, but if not, he and the other newsies will all be arrested and sent to the Refuge ("The Bottom Line (Reprise)"). Katherine, who has been listening in secret, attempts to apologize to Jack, but he brushes her off as he is detained by Pulitzer's goons and led into the cellar.
The next morning, Spot Conlon and the Brooklyn newsies declare their support of the strike and head to the rally ("Brooklyn's Here"). Jack, believing there is no way the newsies can win against Pulitzer's money, power, and connections, shows up to the rally to reluctantly suggest the strike be called off. He accepts the Santa Fe money from one of Pulitzer's men as Davey, Spot, and the other newsies watch in disbelief, calling him a traitor and a scab. Jack flees to his rooftop, only to find that Katherine has beaten him there. She has discovered Jack's drawings of the abuse he suffered at the Refuge among his belongings and realizes that he stole to feed and clothe the other boys. They argue about their respective betrayals and the fate of the strike, but the argument is cut short when she impulsively kisses him. Katherine has a new idea: use Jack's drawings and one of her articles to print their own newspaper, calling for every worker under 21 to strike alongside the newsies. Jack agrees, recalling an abandoned printing press in Pulitzer's cellar, but before getting to work, they share a romantic moment, each stating that the other has given them "something to believe in" ("Something to Believe In").
The other newsies join Jack and Katherine in printing their own paper, the Newsies Banner, and distribute copies throughout the city ("Once and for All"). A copy reaches Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who arrives in full support of the newsies' cause. Roosevelt gives Pulitzer an ultimatum, forcing the latter to concede to Jack's demands. Jack proposes that Pulitzer buy back every paper the newsies fail to sell each day. Initially reluctant, Pulitzer agrees when Jack points out he will still ultimately benefit from the increased sales. Jack and Roosevelt inform the newsies that the strike is over and they have won. As the newsies celebrate, Roosevelt informs them that he has shut down the Refuge, citing Jack's drawings as his motivation to do so. Crutchie returns to his friends, and Snyder is arrested. Impressed at the influence Jack's drawings had on the governor, Pulitzer offers him a job as a daily political cartoonist. Jack declines, claiming it is time he leaves for Santa Fe, but Davey, Katherine, and Crutchie remind him that "New York's got us, and we're your family." Ultimately, Jack decides to stay and chooses to remain a newsboy as well as accept the cartoonist job ("Finale").
|Character||2010 Workshop||Paper Mill Playhouse||Original Broadway Cast||Original National Tour Cast||Original London Cast|
|Jack Kelly||Jay Armstrong Johnson||Jeremy Jordan||Dan DeLuca||Michael Ahomka-Lindsay|
|Joseph Pulitzer||Shuler Hensley||John Dossett||Steve Blanchard||Cameron Blakley|
|Katherine Plumber||Meghann Fahy||Kara Lindsay||Stephanie Styles,
|Davey Jacobs||Jason Michael Snow||Ben Fankhauser||Jacob Kemp||Ryan Kopel|
|Medda Larkin||Liz Larsen||Helen Anker||Capathia Jenkins||Angela Grovey||Moya Angela|
|Crutchie||Andrew Keenan-Bolger||Zachary Sayle||Matthew Duckett|
|Les Jacobs||Matthew Gumley||R.J. Fattori,
|Race||Robert Hager||Ryan Breslin||Ben Cook||Josh Barnett|
|Albert||Jordan Nichols||Garett Hawe||Sky Flaherty||Jacob Fisher|
|Specs||Jordan Samuels||Ryan Steele||Jordan Samuels||Samuel Bailey|
|Henry||—||Kyle Coffman||DeMarius Copes||Matt Trevorrow|
|Finch||Bobby List||Aaron J. Albano||Julian DeGuzman||Damon Gould|
|Romeo||—||Andy Richardson||Nico DeJesus||George Michaelides|
|Spot Conlon||John Arthur Greene||Tommy Bracco||Jeff Heimbrock|
|Wiesel / Mr. Jacobi / Mayor||Robert Creighton as Wiesel
Tom Alan Robbins as Mr. Jacobi
|John E. Brady||Michael Gorman||Jamie Golding|
|Oscar Delancey||Ben Thompson||Brendon Stimson||Jon Hacker||Alex James-Hatton|
|Morris Delancey||Corey Mach||Mike Faist||Michael Ryan||George Crawford|
|Seitz||Bill Nolte||Mark Aldrich||-|
|Bunsen||Mark Price||Nick Sullivan||Bill Bateman||Sion Lloyd|
|Hannah / Bowery Beauty||—||Laurie Veldheer||Meredith Inglesby||Bobbie Chambers|
|Snyder||Marcus Neville||Stuart Marland||James Judy||Ross Dawes|
|Nunzio / Theodore Roosevelt||Tom Alan Robbins||Kevin Carolan||Barry Keenan|
Further information: Newsboys' strike of 1899
Jack Kelly is the amalgamation of several historical leaders in the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, primarily Kid Blink (who is featured in the film but omitted from the musical), who was known as a charismatic speaker and a leader to the younger boys. Other real strikers included in the show are Racetrack Higgins, Mush Meyers, and Spot Conlon. Although Katherine Plumber is a fictional character, she is named for Pulitzer's daughter Katherine Ethel, who died of pneumonia in 1884 at the age of 2. Many newsgirls participated in the strike as well, a fact largely ignored by both the film and the musical. However, new stage adaptations are rumored to include more "girlsie" roles written in, as well as many characters who have been written as gender-neutral in the script currently available for licensing.
In the musical, the newspapers raise prices during July in 1899 after pressures to sell more papers after the war. However, the price for the papers was raised from 50 cents to 60 cents, not after, but during the Spanish American War. The cause of the strike was that they did not lower the high price after the war was over. This caused the newsies to revolt because they felt that it was more difficult to sell papers without the exciting news of the war, plus the additional pressures of the price changes. At the height of the strike, on July 24, 1899, the Newsboys Union held a massive rally at the New Irving Theatre, a vaudeville venue on the Bowery (reimagined in the musical as Medda Larkin's theatre). The rally was covered in extensive detail by The New York Sun (employer of the fictional Katherine Plumber), and featured speeches from the union's leaders. It is rumored that for a period of time during the strike that Kid Blink secretly began working with Pulitzer and Hearst, which resulted in a massive riot of strikers versus scabbers, similar to Jack's near-betrayal after Pulitzer promises him a full ride to Santa Fe. Unlike in the film, the musical follows the historical ending of the strike, where the World and the Journal agreed to buy back all unsold papers. Historically, the price was kept at 60 cents per 100, but in the musical they strike a deal for 55 cents per 100 papers.
In addition to the songs from the original movie, Newsies The Musical contains several new numbers such as 'Watch What Happens', 'Brooklyn's Here' and 'Something To Believe In'. The songs "My Lovey Dovey Baby" and "High Times Hard Times" were removed and replaced by the singular song "That's Rich", which is performed by the same character, Medda Larkin, while the remaining songs were rewritten to fit the changes in the storyline between the film and the musical. Davey and Les's parents are mentioned only in conversation, omitting a scene from the movie where Jack has dinner in their tenement apartment. The lyrics to Santa Fe are changed to compensate for this change. The characters of Sarah Jacobs (Davey and Les's sister and Jack's original love interest) and the New York Sun reporter Bryan Denton are replaced by the composite character Katherine Plumber, a reporter with whom Jack falls in love. Also omitted was the solo for "Patrick's Mother". A scene with Jack, Davey, and Spot Conlon is absent, as is Spot's involvement in the fight between the newsies and scabbers; Spot doesn't appear until the rally.
A solo number for Crutchie titled "Letter from the Refuge" was added for national tour, replacing a scene from the movie where Jack visits Crutchie after he is captured by Snyder. "Letter from the Refuge" now appears in the current version of the show that is licensed to theatre companies.
† Not on the Original Broadway Cast Recording
^ Mayor sings Bunsen's line in the Broadway Cast Recording but Bunsen sings it in the revised edition which was filmed and is available for licensing
The Paper Mill production drew critical acclaim. According to The New York Times:
Newsies will open in time to qualify for the Tony Award in a season when the Tony for best musical is seen as up for grabs; Newsies is already considered a likely contender for a nomination even before the show opens ...
In his review of the Broadway production, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote:
As choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, they keep coming at us in full-speed-ahead phalanxes, fortified by every step in a Broadway-by-the-numbers dance book. ... Mr. Jordan ... is a natural star who has no trouble holding the stage, even without pirouettes. ... Mr. Feldman’s lyrics are spot-on, while the melody reminds us just how charming a composer Mr. Menken ... can be.
|Newsies (Original Broadway Cast Recording)|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||May 15, 2012|
The Broadway cast recording was released by Ghostlight Records on iTunes on April 10, 2012, and the CD was released on May 15. Six songs were added for the stage adaptation, including three newly written for the Broadway production since the Paper Mill Playhouse debut: The Bottom Line, That's Rich and Something to Believe In (replacing Then I See You Again, also written for the stage adaptation).
|2.||"Santa Fe (Prologue)"||Jeremy Jordan, Andrew Keenan-Bolger||3:05|
|3.||"Carrying the Banner"||Newsies Company||5:08|
|4.||"The Bottom Line"||John Dossett, Mark Aldrich, Nick Sullivan, Laurie Veldheer||2:16|
|5.||"That's Rich"||Capathia Jenkins||2:33|
|6.||"I Never Planned on You/Don't Come a-Knocking"||Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Laurie Veldheer, Julie Foldesi||1:40|
|7.||"The World Will Know"||Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Lewis Grosso, Matthew Schechter, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Newsies Company||4:09|
|8.||"Watch What Happens"||Kara Lindsay||3:06|
|9.||"Seize the Day"||Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Lewis Grosso, Matthew Schechter, Newsies Company||5:23|
|10.||"Santa Fe"||Jeremy Jordan||3:12|
|11.||"King of New York"||Ben Fankhauser, Matthew Schechter, Lewis Grosso, Kara Lindsay, Ryan Breslin, Newsies Company||4:09|
|12.||"Watch What Happens (reprise)"||Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Kara Lindsay, Lewis Grosso||1:53|
|13.||"The Bottom Line (reprise)"||John Dossett, Mark Aldrich, John E. Brady||0:58|
|14.||"Brooklyn's Here"||Tommy Bracco, Newsies Company||1:53|
|15.||"Something to Believe In"||Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay||3:31|
|16.||"Once and for All"||Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser, Ryan Breslin, Newsies Company||4:01|
|17.||"Finale"||Jeremy Jordan, Newsies Company||2:32|
|18.||"Santa Fe (Bonus Track)"||Jeremy Jordan, Alan Menken||2:03|
|19.||"Seize The Day (Bonus Track)"||Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Lewis Grosso, Matthew Schechter, Newsies Company||6:40|
|20.||"King of New York (Bonus Track)"||Ben Fankhauser, Matthew Schechter, Lewis Grosso, Kara Lindsay, Ryan Breslin, Newsies Company||4:56|
In July 2016, it was announced that Newsies would be filmed at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles with a limited national release in movie theaters from February 16–18, 2017. Due to high demand, a fourth showing was added for March 4, 2017. Some alumni from the Broadway production reprised their leading roles, notably Jeremy Jordan as Jack, Kara Lindsay as Katherine, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie and Tommy Bracco as Spot Conlon. Several ensemble tracks were added to the show to provide roles for swings. A two-day encore presentation of the production was shown in theaters on August 5 and 9, 2017.
On the 25th anniversary of the original film's theatrical release, April 10, 2017, it was announced the filmed stage production would be released for digital download on May 23, 2017.
In early 2022, a one-hour adaptation of the musical was released by Music Theatre International to be used in middle school and youth theater productions. The one-act interpretation follows the same plot as the original, but omits the songs "The Bottom Line", "That's Rich", "I Never Planned On You/Don't Come a-Knocking", "Watch What Happens (reprise)", "The Bottom Line (reprise)", and "Something To Believe In", as well as additional reprises and tags featured in the full-length version. A new song titled "Just a Pretty Face" is featured and re-uses music from cut songs "That's Rich" and "Don't Come a-Knocking". Many male characters have been rewritten into female characters, with Finch, Henry, Mush, and Elmer becoming Muriel, Pigtails, Hazel, and Nancy, respectively. The Junior version also features characters Ada, Olive, and Ethel, three performers who work at Medda's theater. Additionally, the settings of the rooftop and Jacobi's Deli are omitted, with the rooftop scenes taking place in an alleyway and the Deli scenes on the streets. As is typical for MTI's Broadway Junior shows, all instances of strong language and sexual innuendos are removed or reworked.
Newsies Jr. is the 50th title in Music Theatre National's Broadway Junior lineup and can be licensed for performance on the company's website.
|2012||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|||
|Best Book of a Musical||Harvey Fierstein||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Jeremy Jordan||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Jeff Calhoun||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Christopher Gattelli||Won|
|Best Original Score||Alan Menken and Jack Feldman||Won|
|Best Orchestrations||Danny Troob||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design of a Musical||Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Jeremy Jordan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography||Christopher Gattelli||Won|
|Outstanding Music||Alan Menken||Won|
|Outstanding Lyrics||Jack Feldman||Nominated|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Danny Troob||Nominated|
|2013||Grammy Award||Best Musical Theater Album||Nominated|||
|Young Artist Award||Best Young Actor in Live Theater||Lewis Grosso||Nominated|||