Newsies Stop The World!
One of my favorite musicals (caveat: I’m not sure I have many not-favorite musicals), Newsies is a mostly-historical David & Goliath drama taking place at the turn of the century.
The Lead (Jack Kelly, played by Dan DeLuca) plays a perfect heartthrob with a big voice, just bad enough that you don’t want to take him home to the folks (spoiler), just good enough that you never stop rooting for him. He captures everything we love about golden-era musicals that Newsies came from. As Katherine says, he’s charismatic, cocky, arrogant, and a son of a; most of which I think are compliments. Katherine is played by Stephanie Styles, who certainly holds her own in such a male-dominated cast. Dressed in Magenta throughout, a color suggesting both heat and femininity, which plays into her character.
Jack is supported by Davey (Jacob Kemp), owner of a lovely deep baritone, if a little out of place when all the parts are “children”.
Davey’s younger brother Les (Anthony Rosenthal) steals every scene he’s in. The kid’s bio lists past performances of nearly every musical with a small child role.
Adults atop their tower are properly attired , with men in morning coats, frock coats, false collars, and ascots, and women in striped mutton sleeves, big teased hair, and trumpet skirts.
The newsies themselves are comprised of a nearly 20-strong multi-ethnic ensemble cast, encompassing a significant percentage of our nation’s top male acrobatic dancers. Just about every one of them gets time to shine, and the ensemble routines routinely had me at the edge of my seat. I have a minor complaint that every boy is in knickers, and every pair of knickers is just hemmed up trousers, no fullness.
Newsies sits in the middle of the road between musicals with songs that advance the plot (Le Mis, most of the script is sung) vs interlude songs (Cocoanuts).
The staging is fun, creative, and modal, with many smaller set pieces moved in/out of place by the cast when changing scenes, though they employ too much video for a stage show (I still have nightmares of Peter Pan in 360). The last few big shows I’ve seen have been unmiked, so it was a little difficult getting used to everyone’s voices coming from the same place.
The dancing is fantastic. Fosse’s influence is all over it, as well as our modern love affair with floor acrobatics. I was happy to see a handful of fellow dancers in the audience :)
The show ended with a well-deserved standing ovation; and don’t leave just yet, because there’s a little more dancing before it’s all over.
Newsies runs Now-March 15th at The Orpheum in San Francisco. Tickets run $50-225, with Rush tickets at $40 each, 2 hrs before showtime (6pm). I got Rush tickets: about 30 back in the waiting line, and still got Orchestra seats!
Directed by Jeff Calhoun
Choreographed by Christopher Gattelli
Costumes designed by Jess Goldstein
I’m the king of New York!
Related: OverAttired 2015 Calendar