'NEWSIES' DELIVERS, WAY ABOVE THE FOLD!
NEWSIES The Broadway Musical
What’s it about ... a musical set in New York City and inspired by events leading to the 1899 newsboy strike. Meeting the challenge of bottom-line economics, orphan/artist Jack Kelly takes a stand against Joseph Pulitzer’s publishing empire leading a rag-tag band of newsies to organize as a union and, ultimately, to inspire everyone to unite in the common cause.
Why you should go ... the hit Disney Broadway Musical NEWSIES (Alan Menken music, lyrics by Jack Feldman and book by Harvey Fierstein), moves into the Marriott for a holiday run with a terrific, high-energy ensemble. Director/Choreographer Alex Sanchez expertly combines Kevin Depinet’s imaginative stage design, Jesse Klug’s lighting and Sally Dolembo’s costumes with power-packed performances under the superb musical direction of Ryan T. Nelson. It all adds up to a rhythmic, rough house wallop from beginning to end.
What stands out ... rising up from the stylized urban street scenes, brothels, sitting rooms and theaters of the day, Patrick Rooney gives a multi-layered gem of a performance as Jack Kelly. The story unfolds in Jack's burgeoning love for Elizabeth, played beautifully by Eliza Palasz, his brotherly bond with Crutchie, a moving turn for Matthew Uzarraga and his face-offs with Kevin Gudhal's stirring offering as Joseph Pulitzer. The union organizer Davey (Nick Graffagna), his little brother, Les (a wily Carter Graf) and the amazing Stephanie Pope as Medda Larkin are perfect.
What to watch and wait for ... the exceptional vocal balance of the 19-member ensemble, enhanced by Patti Garwood's top flight musicians, gives this production a full, rich tone. A rugged New York landscape, constantly in motion, propels the story forward, high praise to Ravenswood whose scenic abilities shine. In every borough, all night long, Newsies delivers, way above the fold.
Moments to remember ... Rooney soars in ‘Santa Fe’ … Palasz in ‘Watch What Happens’ and together with Rooney ‘Something to Believe In’ … free-wheeling dance numbers are aplenty including a rousing opening ‘Carrying the Banner’… ‘The World Will Know’… ‘Seize the Day’ … Pope’s ‘That’s Rich’ and Uzarraga’s quiet ‘Letter from the Refuge.' I’ll wager you will be humming 'King of New York’ on the way home after this rollicking night of family entertainment.
The takeaway ... It is hard to imagine that there was a time when headlines were posted on a public board, or that news only came out in the paper. One has to think that the young newsies of this era had some genuine influence over the dialogue of the day and their story reminds us that there are many ways to inspire the masses and confront injustice. The lesson about how to reach a common ground of understanding might have been lost if not for this action-packed turn-of-the-century tale now playing at the Marriott.