Newsies Sing, Dance and Strike in New Disney Musical, Opening March 29
By Andrew Gans
The new Disney musical Newsies officially opens on Broadway March 29 at the Nederlander Theatre following previews that began March 15 and an acclaimed engagement at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse last fall.
The limited Broadway engagement, which was originally scheduled through June 10, will now continue at least through Aug. 19.
Disney Theatrical Productions also recently announced that 100 lottery tickets, priced at $30, are available for the opening-night performance. The lottery will begin accepting names at noon prior to a 12:30 PM drawing of the winning entries. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing with a valid ID. Tickets are cash only. All proceeds benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The cast features Jeremy Jordan (Bonnie & Clyde) as Jack Kelly, John Dossett (2003 revival of Gypsy) as Joseph Pulitzer, Kara Lindsay (Little House on the Prairie) as Katherine Plumber, Capathia Jenkins (The Civil War; The Look of Love; Caroline, or Change; and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me) as Medda, Ben Fankhauser (Spring Awakening national tour) as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Mary Poppins) as Crutchie and Lewis Grosso (Mary Poppins) and Matthew Schechter (Elf) alternating the role of Les. (Jordan, Dossett, Lindsay, Fankhauser and Keenan-Bolger are all reprising the roles they created in the Paper Mill Playhouse production last fall.)
The ensemble of Newsies comprises Aaron J. Albano, Mark Aldrich, Tommy Bracco, John E. Brady, Ryan Breslin, Kevin Carolan, Caitlyn Caughell, Kyle Coffman, Mike Faist, Michael Fatica, Julie Foldesi, Garett Hawe, Thayne Jasperson, Evan Kasprzak, Jess Le Protto, Stuart Marland, Andy Richardson, Jack Scott, Ryan Steele, Brendon Stimson, Nick Sullivan, Ephraim Sykes, Laurie Veldheer, Alex Wong and Stuart Zagnit.
Newsies features a score by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act, Leap of Faith) and Jack Feldman and a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy). The musical, produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, is directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (Big River revival) and choreographed by Tony nominee Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific revival).
The production also features musical supervision/incidental music and vocal arrangements by Michael Kosarin, musical direction and dance music arrangements by Mark Hummel, music coordination by John Miller, 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.
Rounding out the creative team are sound designer Ken Travis, hair and wig designer Charles G. LaPointe and fight director J. Allen Suddeth. Thomas J. Gates serves as production stage manager; Eduardo Castro is production manager.
"Set in New York City at the turn of the century," Newsies, according to press notes, is the "rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged 'newsies,' who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys' expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what's right."
Newsies 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.
About the character he plays, Jeremy Jordan told Playbill.com in 2011, "He is the cocky popular guy. He's everybody's friend, but [is] also in charge — not in charge, but everyone looks up to him. He's the older guy, but there's a lot more to him than that — that's sort of his façade. That's what makes him one of the guys, but beneath all of that, he's an artist. He's like an untrained artist [who is] budding. He sketches a lot. He's done some paintings for some of the theatres nearby. It's something that he takes more as a hobby, but that, also, is how he expresses himself because he has this deep yearning inside himself. Just like the movie, he longs to go to another place out West with wide-open spaces — out of the dirty stinking city where he sleeps on the streets, sleeps on roofs, sleeps on fire escapes, wherever he can find a place.
"He used to have a family. He doesn't anymore. He's definitely this really lost soul trying to find a purpose, and he finds it with this strike. He also finds love for the first time in the new female character of Katherine, who helps bring out this hidden side of him that he's never shown anybody before, because, like I said, he's one of the cool guys — swagger and flirty — that kind of thing."
Read Playbill.com's recent The Leading Men interview with Jordan. For an interview with leading lady Kara Lindsay, click here.
The company recorded the show's original cast album March 4-5. The recording will be released digitally on iTunes April 10 from Ghostlight Records. The physical CD will arrive in stores May 15. Pre-orders that are placed through http://www.newsiesthemusical.com/music will be shipped April 30. (For other show and vocal recordings, visit the Playbill Store.)
The score features songs from the film — many with new lyrics, counterpoints and arrangements to suit new plot points – and six songs added for the stage, including three newly written for Broadway since the Paper Mill production. The three new songs are titled "The Bottom Line," "That's Rich" and "Something to Believe In."
The complete song list follows:
Santa Fe (Prologue): Jack and Crutchie
Beginning two-and-a-half hours before every performance, patrons are invited to enter the ticket lottery; winners will be drawn two hours before each performance. Winners may then purchase up to two $30 cash-only tickets to that day's performance. Winners must be present with valid identification at the time of the drawing. The lottery will be offered before every performance other than the opening-night performance.
The Nederlander Theatre box office (208 West 41st Street) is open Monday through Saturday 10 AM-8 PM and Sunday 11 AM-7 PM. Tickets are also available for purchase through NewsiesTheMusical.com or by calling Ticketmaster’s Disney on Broadway hotline at (866) 870-2717. Tickets are also on sale to groups of 15 or more by calling (800) 439-9000 or visiting www.disneytheatricalsales.com/newsies.
For more information visit NewsiesTheMusical.com, Facebook.com/Newsies and Twitter.com/Newsies.
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