Saturday, August 4, 2012

theatre review NEWSIES, Broadway, July 17

The Broadway musical Newsies is a crowd pleaser in the truest sense.  It has an exuberant cast, an engaging David vs Goliath story, several highly effective and tuneful songs and some of the most infectious and thrilling dance numbers to grace a Broadway stage in many years.  Having seen the pre-Broadway run of the show last Fall at the Paper Mill Playhouse we decided to revisit the show to see what was changed and how the show plays on the Great White Way.  It was well worth the second trip.

I won't go into the story of the flop movie that this musical is based on or talk about the real life turn of the century struggle that this show musicalizes, since I already wrote about those things in my earlier review that you can read here.  Instead I thought I would spend a few paragraphs to talk about the changes that have been made for the show, all of which are for the better.

Tony winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman have replaced a few of the newer songs from last Fall's production with even newer ones.  And while none of the new songs is as good as the ones used from the film, or the one knockout new song "Watch What Happens," they are all better then what was heard at the Paper Mill.

Kara Kindsay and Jeremy Jordan
The recasting of the only supporting female character in the show Medda Larkin with Capathia Jenkins was clearly a good decision. Not that the woman who played the role at Paper Mill wasn't good in the part, it's just since the part is a small one having someone with the high wattage stage presence of Jenkins made the part more than the sum of the small amount of stage time it receives.  She also had a great time with her one solo song.

The Nederlander Theatre is the perfect venue for the dance centric show with the Mezzanine so close to the stage that I'd recommend sitting there instead of in the orchestra.  The three tier set also is more accessible from the mezzanine, especially since several scenes are played out on the second tier of the set.

Jeremy Jordan as the male lead Jack Kelly is now a Tony nominated actor and is still delivering an honest, rousing performance.  Kara Lindsay as the female lead and love interest is also still exhibiting a natural and strong take on this woman who is slightly ahead of her time.  Many of the supporting characters are played by actors carried over from the Paper Mill run with those delivering great work at Paper Mill like Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Ryan Breslin and Ryan Steele still delivering the goods.

Not much more to add except to say to go see this show if you're looking for a rousing, fun big Broadway show.

Newsies Official Website

Highlights from the show:

2012 Tony Awards performance:

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