I have a confession. While many of friends are self-proclaimed Fansies, I am a Newsies Newbie. For all my love of everything Broadway, I have never seen Newsies nor did I even know one line, note or even one song from the Tony-Award winning musical.
*Hangs head in shame.*
That has all changed after attending Tuesday night’s opening performance. This New York born gal felt quite a connection to Newsies.
Newsies is a loosely based on the historical events that happened during the late 1800s when the Newspaper Boys of New York City refused to pay an increased fee to peddle “papes” for Joseph Pulitizer’s, The New York World. The boys form a union and strike against The World.
All of the scenes take place on around a ginormous apparatus that resembles the famous steel scaffolding skyline in turn of the century New York City and the cast scurries through the steel structure like rats in a cage. Feeling trapped between street life and a hellhole orphanage known “The Refuge”, the young boys happily sell papers to scrape by while dreaming of a better life. As a new day approaches, the main character and hero Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro) wins the audience over immediately in the first scene, “Santa Fe”.
In between a newspaper strike, there’s love and a smidge of roughness between the orphaned newspaper boys and bad cops, but of course there are the most memorable dance numbers ever to tap their way into the Straz since Anything Goes.
The talented cast leaped and pirouetted into my heart. I would certainly have bought papes from these Newsies and joined their cause, made evident when I leaped through the parking lot after the show. I became one of the boys.
Much like the lovable characters and their witty one-liners, the songs will play over and over in your head. Of course, with music by Alan Menken and a book by Harvey Fierstein, the tunes would obviously be toe-tapping catchy. In fact, my fourteen year old has requested the soundtrack for Christmas.
After belting out “Brookyln’s Here” and “I’m the King of New York”, it dawned on me how my teen and I loved the show for different reasons. My teen loved the rage against the machine theme of Newies, where young people her age overthrow a big, bad grown up World. As a mom, I wanted to take them in, feed them, clothe them, hug them and tell them everything would be ok. Of course, I would still fight for a righteous cause, but after we eat kids.
Extra! Extra! Run DMT is now a Fansie! You heard it here, folks!