Who doesn’t love a great musical . . . and when there’s dancing too, I’m all over it. Nothing gets my heart pumping more than seeing a bunch of athletic young men dancing their hearts out on stage – especially to a good tune! About 20 years ago, all of my family went to see the new movie Newsies. It became a family favorite. I recall the theater gave us a souvenir mock old-time newspaper featuring the actors and a tutorial for some of the dance moves. I couldn’t wait to get home and try those moves out. The 1992 movie was a break-out role for none other than Christian Bale (Batman). Sure wish I still had the newspaper – it would be a collector’s item.
Well, be still my heart – Newsies is coming to Broadway!!! Back in December when I took that dream trip to New York, our group of Bloggers got to meet with the VP of Creative Development and Licensing for Newsies, Steve Fickinger. It was amazing to hear what a
show must go through before those actors feel the thrill of the footlights of a new show. Steve shared with us, that in terms of success, Newsies the movie was considered a huge Disney flop! But now it has a cult following. Because the story features a David versus
Goliath plot, he’s hopeful the Broadway play/musical will have a refreshed universal appeal.
Newsies, the breakout American musical, will open at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre after its critically acclaimed preview at the Paper Mill Playhouse this past fall. Broadway previews begin on March 15th and opening night of the show is March 29th. NEWSIES
is currently scheduled to run until June 10th , but let’s hope it runs much longer! I will be in NYC again in August and I sure hope they are still on stage so I can go!!
Newsies Paper Mill run engendered extraordinary interest from both media and the public. The show’s cast was invited to perform on ABC’s The View. Newsweek.com called the show “one of the biggest surprises of the season . . . the talk of the town.” The New York Times praised the “terrific rousing songs and a sweet, funny emotionally satisfying book [the story]” calling it “a stirring crowd pleaser. . . a musical worth singing about.”
Newsies is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.
The musical features many of the original beloved songs, plus the addition of new score by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy). It is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, is directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (Big River revival) and choreographed by Tony nominee Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific revival). These are the real pros!
Steve Fickinger said he’s been working on developing the show for 7 years! If someone says “Let’s do a musical” he said his job is to “get the writer, the lyricist, the composer, spend X amount of time doing readings, drafts, notes, workshops, and then we do the first
production to actually get the director, choreographer, set designer, etc. So I would say my job starts with the idea, and my job is done when the curtain comes down on opening night, and everyone loves the show.”
After all of his hard work for such a long time, he’s encouraged about the final product. He said,“Of course I want it to go on and be a success, but here’s what I really want. I want however long it’s open, be it ten weeks, twenty weeks, thirty weeks, I want it to be
great. And I’m really, really proud of the show. It is in the best sense of the word, an old fashioned musical. It has tap dancing, it has dancing, it has soaring ballets, it’s got toe tapping tunes, and it’s got a story that is oddly, and sort of fantastically timely, which is
about the David versus Goliath and the little guy taking on the big sort of behemoth.”
My time spent with Mr Fickinger was full of energy and excitement for this project. I loved the movie in 1992, and I’m sure hoping I’ll find a way to see the musical on Broadway, as I hope all of you will get the chance as well!
Disclosure: Disney/DreamWorks sent me to NYC for the world premiere of War Horse, in addition to having these such meetings with extraordinary people. I was not compensated for my time or my trip, but asked to write about my experience and give my honest opinions.