Delightfully charming, “Newsies,” is an old-fashioned style musical, big on heart and full of tap-dancing fun. It even offers a break-out star in Jeremy Jordon as Jack Kelly, the charismatic young man willing to become a newsboy ‘David’ to publisher Pulitzer’s ‘Goliath.’ Jordon sings and dances with elan and transforms a classic Dead End Kid into a lead character filled with confidence and courage.
Based on the Disney film of the same name, “Newsies” lands on Broadway with a powerhouse creative group including veterans Harvey Fierstein (book), Alan Menken (Music), and director Jeff Calhoun. This winning team takes the formulaic story – kid on the wrong side of the tracks makes good – into a stirring anthem for the downtrodden and taps into the current news environment where the ‘one percent’ is regularly lambasted.
Jordan leads this young and energetic cast with style and sensitivity making it easy to believe he’s both a leader, and the object of the affections of the ingénue, Katherine, a journalist, played with sweet sincerity by Kara Lindsay. The villain of the piece, millionaire publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, driven to cut the paperboys’ (newsies) wages in order to amp up his bottom line, is aptly sour in the capable hands of John Dossett.
Christopher Gattelli’s athletic choreography is reminiscent of Michael Kidd and while Tobin Ost’s scaffolds form a rather uninspired setting, it does provide for lots of levels where the newsies can climb up and jump off. Menken’s score, with clever lyrics by Jack Feldman, has a catchy pop feel. This socially conscious show finds a rather light and frothy tone to please the family oriented theatregoer.
“Newsies” is a feel-good musical. It wraps its social agenda around young, idealistic characters fighting for children’s rights – an argument few would find fault with – and the result is a sweet show with a rising star in Jeremy Jordon.
BY LESLEY ALEXANDER
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Jeremy Jordan, John Dossett, Kara Lindsay, Capathia Jenkins, Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Lewis Grosso, Matthew Schechter, Aaron J. Albano, Mark Aldrich, Tommy Bracco, John E. Brady, Ryan Breslin, Kevin Carolan, Caitlyn Caughell, Kyle Coffman, Mike Faist, Michael Fatica, Julie Foldesi, Garett Hawe, Thayne Jasperson, Evan Kasprzak, Jess LeProtto, Stuart Marland, Andy Richardson, Jack Scott, Ryan Steele, Brendon Stimson, Nick Sullivan, Ephraim Sykes, Laurie Veldheer, Alex Wong, Stuart Zagnit
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