by kaitlyn frey
After a critically acclaimed run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, Disney’s Newsies: the Musical opened on Broadway last night for a limited run through June 10 at the Nederlander Theatre.
The musical, which is adapted from the 1992 Disney film, is based on a true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899, according to papermill.org. When Joseph Pulitzer and other newspaper publishers raised the distribution price charged to delivery boys, the poor and orphaned newsboys set out to enact change and form a union. The show features music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, according to papermill.org.
Although the original film was a box office bust, Newsies gained a cult following—self-proclaimed "Fansies"—which grew after the show’s premiere at Paper Mill. According to thedailybeast.com, the entire run at the 1,200-seat Paper Mill was sold out after a slew of positive reviews.
New York Times reviewed the show, calling it "an adorable pro-union, up-with-the-downtrodden musical [that] seems worth singing about."
Entertainment Weekly called Newsies: "A joyous, audience-pleasing show, easily outshining most new musicals of the last several seasons. Broadway could use a fresh burst of good newsies."
As a result of the success of the Paper Mill production, the cast was invited to perform on The View, as well as at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this past November. Now, Newsies is Disney’s newest production to make it to Broadway.
In the film version of Newsies, the cast was completely male; however, the stage production includes a female journalist, Katharine Plumber, who stirs up trouble and serves as a love interest for lead newsboy Jack Kelly.
Jeremy Jordan, who played Jack Kelly in the Paper Mill production of Newsies, will be reprising his role on Broadway along with many of the other lead actors, according to broadway.com.
Jordan is no stranger to Broadway, having starred in the recent revival of West Side Story as well as last fall’s Bonnie and Clyde, according to ew.com. Offstage, Jordan acted and performed alongside Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah in the film Joyful Noise, which premiered this past January.
Although Disney is notorious for its huge production costs and long Broadway runs, Newsies is starting out small with a budget of only $5 million and a limited engagement through this summer, according to nytimes.com.
According to the nytimes.com article, if Newsies’ success continues to flourish, the musical could ultimately end up having an open-ended run on Broadway.