Read All About It: Disney's Newsies Gets Spring 2012 Broadway Engagement
By Kenneth Jones
The new Disney stage musical Newsies, which recently had a critically acclaimed world premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, will get a limited Broadway engagement March 15-June 10, 2012, at the Nederlander Theatre, across the street from Disney's Mary Poppins.
The commercial transfer news was announced on Nov. 15 at newsiesthemusical.com, which indicated that tickets go on sale 10 AM Jan. 30. Opening night will be March 29; 101 performances are planned.
A possible Broadway run for the Paper Mill show has been the talk of the town since good reviews and eager crowds greeted the Millburn, NJ, staging, which ended its run Sept. 25.
Adapted from the 1992 live-action Disney film, the new musical about a newsboys strike in gaslight New York features music by eight-time Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid), lyrics by Jack Feldman and a new book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy).
Most of the fall cast (a star-free, mostly male troupe) is expected to repeat their work in the spring. Casting will be announced.
Leading man Jeremy Jordan, who played tough newsboy Jack Kelly, is currently unavailable — he's a title gunslinger in the new Broadway musical Bonnie & Clyde, which is also directed by Newsies director Jeff Calhoun.
Newsies, according to earlier press notes, is "inspired by the real life 'Newsboy Strike of 1899,' when newsboy Kid Blink led the ragged orphans and runaways known as newsies on a two-week-long action against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. Set in New York City at the turn of the century, the musical is the tale of newsie Jack Kelly, who dreams of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when Pulitzer and Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsies' expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies his army of newsies to strike."
Initially, Disney had planned Newsies for the stock and amateur market. According to Disney Theatrical Productions, "The stage adaptation had been developed for licensing to theatre groups and its Paper Mill run intended only as a pilot production for that market. The planned next step was to immediately release the title to the theatres and schools who had for many years made Newsies the single most requested title of all the Disney film musicals not yet adapted to the stage."
The stage version introduces several new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman, adding to a cult-hit film score that includes "Carrying the Banner," "Seize the Day," "King of New York" and "Santa Fe."
The Nederlander on 41st Street faces the back of the New Amsterdam Theatre, where Mary Poppins flies nightly.
The Newsies cast at Paper Mill included Tony nominee John Dossett as newspaper giant Joseph Pulitzer, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, RJ Fattori and Vincent Agnello sharing the role of Les, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, Tommy Bracco as Spot Conlon, Brendon Stimson as Oscar Delancey, Mike Faist as Morris Delancey and Kara Lindsay as Katherine.
Also featured were Mark Aldrich (Seitz), Helen Anker (Medda), John E. Brady (Wiesel), Kevin Carolan (Roosevelt), Julie Foldesi (Ms. Baum), Stuart Marland (Snyder), Michael McArthur, Jack Scott, Nick Sullivan (Bunsen) and Laurie Veldheer (Hannah) with Aaron J. Albano, Ryan Breslin, Kyle Coffman, Max Ehrich, JP Ferreri, Garett Hawe, Corey Hummerston, Evan Kasprzak, Andy Richardson, Scott Shedenhelm and Ryan Steele.
Tony nominee Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific) choreographs the production, which also features musical supervision/vocal and incidental music arrangements by Michael Kosarin, musical direction by David Holcenberg, orchestrations by Danny Troob, scenic design by Tobin Ost, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting design by Jeff Croiter and projection design by Sven Ortel.
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