Kenny Ortega, David Moscow and Veterans of "Newsies" Film Reunite at Paper Mill Fan Day

By Michael Gioia
03 Oct 2011

Kara Lindsay and Jeremy Jordan
photo by Michael Gioia
As the movie stars awaited the 7 PM curtain, cast members of the stage musical — many of whom said that the movie inspired them to perform — mentally prepared for what Andrew Keenan-Bolger, the stage version's Crutchie, called a "reliving [of] our childhoods." Between nerves and excitement, the Newsies cast could not wait to take the stage and perform for the actors who created their roles.

Kara Lindsay, who stars as the newly created ingénue Katherine Plumber, admitted, "They are huge celebrities to me — more than Brad Pitt! When you grow up with the film and you idolize these people, they become even bigger in your mind. I think I'm a little nervous, but I hope they are very inviting."

Vincent Agnello, who alternates the role of Les and performed at Fan Day, also shared his thoughts on performing for the movie stars. "It's going to be kind of nerve-wracking because the show is a little bit different from the movie," he said. "I'm curious to see what their reactions are."

To Lindsay's relief, the cast members were more than inviting. Applause erupted before, during and after each musical number that was also seen in the film. Following the curtain call, which immediately received a standing ovation from the packed house, all of the invited movie stars took the stage to join the Newsies for a final bow.

"The new stuff was really neat. I liked a lot of the new songs," the original Davey, David Moscow, told "Every now and then you would see the film up there. It was like déjà vu. It was so surreal in moments where you are watching from the outside, [remembering] memories that you had 20 years ago. I feel like the movie has such a following because of how much love and talent we put into that first one, and you're seeing it come to fruition 20 years later. I think this is going to go to Broadway... I hope I get invited to the opening."

As for a life on Broadway, the Newsies cast, very much like the character of Katherine Plumber, is eager to "Watch What Happens." If it happens, it would mark the Broadway debut for some of the actors, including leading lady Lindsay. After two consecutive let downs with the Broadway-aimed (but stalled) Lone Star Love and Little House on the Prairie, the actress is not banking on the transfer, but is keeping her fingers crossed — as are the show's other actors.

Jeff Calhoun
photo by Benjamin Brooks

Ryan Steele, who plays Specs, said, "We're so in the dark, but all of our fingers and toes are crossed. It's going to be hard to say goodbye if there is not future for it. The cast is wonderful. It's one of the only casts that I've been in that I look forward to seeing as soon as I leave. My day off, I miss everyone."

In the meantime, while the musical continues its limited engagement through Oct. 16, with no plans of extending, the cast is just soaking it all in. Cast members said that "Fansies" are coming out from all parts of the world including Hawaii and Canada just to catch a glimpse of the production while they still can. For the Fansies, every performance is Fan Day. Paper Mill artistic director Mark S. Hoebee said that each night is like a "rock concert," and that audience members are "fanatic for the piece."

The cast is all about having fun on and off the stage. Mike Faist, who plays Morris Delancey, said that the newsboys' "camaraderie really shows on stage." Lindsay said that when cast members have down time during their performance, they gather in the wings to watch certain musical numbers, including the "Seize the Day" dance-break and Jeremy Jordan's rendition of "Santa Fe."

Lindsay said, "Usually when you settle into a show you go back to your dressing room and just do your thing, but we are always like, 'I want to watch this today,' and there is a group of us backstage that are just watching."

Up next for Jordan, the show's leading man, is Broadway's upcoming Bonnie & Clyde, where he will step into the role of Clyde Barrow. There is speculation that if Newsies did make the leap to Broadway, it would wait until after Jordan's Bonnie & Clyde contract ends. There is no official Broadway announcement, just high hopes. Or, as Hoebee exclaimed at the musical's Oct. 2 curtain call, "Newsies forever!"

To watch highlights from the show, look below: