On Thursday, Nov. 28, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre launched the regional premiere of the Tony Award® winning musical, “Disney Newsies the Musical.” It runs through Dec 17. Tickets start at $58. For tickets and show times, call (561) 575-2223 or visit www.jupitertheatre.org.
According to the Maltz Jupiter’ press release, “The musical is a Disney Theatrical Productions stage musical based on the 1992 musical film Newsies. The show made its Broadway debut in 2012 and was an instant hit, winning two Tony Awards, recouping its initial investment of $5 million in seven months and becoming the fastest of any Disney musical on Broadway to turn a profit. In Feb. and Aug. 2017, a popular filmed stage version of the Broadway musical was also released in movie theatres nationwide.”
Based on the 1992 musical film “Newsies” which was inspired by the real-life New York Newsboys Strike of 1899. The show has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein. There’s a cast of 26 and an orchestra of 9 including Andrew David Sotomayor, conductor and first keyboard.
Directed by Marcos Santana, the production is tightly delivered and punctuated by Al Blackstone’s choreography and acrobatics – worth the price of admission on their own, borne out by how few attendees left early when a patron fell ill toward the end of the first act and help was summoned, adding 15 to 20 minutes to the show.
“We are incredibly proud to offer South Florida families the inspiring and high-energy charm that is ‘Disney Newsies The Musical,’” said Andrew Kato, the Theatre’s producing artistic director and chief executive. “This musical is thrilling, uplifting and impossible not to love. The dancing is breathtaking and the music unforgettable. I’d like to encourage everyone to ‘seize the day’ and buy tickets before this one sells out!”
The story follows the life of Jack Kelly (John Arthur Greene), a homeless newsboy and unofficial leader of Manhattan’s Newsies as he organizes an army of urchins and other less fortunate citizens to strike a blow for fair treatment after news paper magnate, Joseph Pullitzer, decided to increase his profits off the backs of the bottom of the pile, the Newsies.
While Jack and his team are organizing, they’re visited by Katherine Plumber (Clara Cox), a self-identified reporter planning to cover the Newsies as they move forward with their plan. As Newsies struggle for fairness, Katherine has her own equality issues as a woman doing a “man’s” job.
Jack and Katherine are attracted to one another immediately which seemed odd considering personal hygiene issues for 19th century homeless. Adding the love interest was Fierstein’s decision and despite the quibble it works.
Gay considerations - Harvey Fierstein, of course. The man has devoted his life to achieving equality for everyone, using humor, arts and theater as the media to change minds and hearts. And while he used a heterosexual romance for the musical, doing otherwise might have put off potential champions.
At the start of the performance, Jack sings to Crutchie (Tyler Jones) about getting out of New York and moving to Santa Fe where Jack dreams for a better way to live. Since they shared their shelter it seemed plausible but, obviously only in my mind. Perhaps they had a “bromance.”
Back to the musical, if you’d like to know what happens to the Newsies, the good guys and the bad, call the box office and get tickets before the show sells out.