I am not a big fan of Disney on Broadway. Most of the time, I think Disney Shows should be at – well, Disney. But Newsies on Broadway, the latest (and smallest) show from the Disney crew, may have changed my mind. I loved Newsies. Mostly because I loved the dancing. And because for once, the Disney cast did not feel quite so…well, Disney-fied. (With the exception of the female lead, who looked, sang, and sounded like Ariel from Little Mermaid). With a book by Harvey Firestein and music and lyrics by Alan Menken and a lesser known Jack Feldman, the show certainly had the right pedigree. And it lives up to it.
The show is based on the Disney movie that was essentially a flop in commercial release, but then had a cult-like devotion on video, and in musical theatre classes everywhere. The movie, in turn, was based on the real life story of turn of the century NYC newsboys who went on strike for better wages and better working conditions, spurring the first child labor laws.
The show’s lead, Jeremy Jordan, was nominated this week for a best actor in a musical Tony Award. Newsies was nominated for 8 awards total – including Best Musical. And I liked Jeremy Jordan – but the real winner of the show is the ensemble. This is an amazingly talented group. And the choreography is fabulous and innovative and fresh. I’ve never seen so much energy and pure physical stamina, grace and strength on a Broadway stage.
Usually, I tell people coming to NYC to head for off-broadway theatres, the smaller shows. But not this time. Head to Newsies on Broadway. Your kids will love it and you will too.