Ahh! I cannot believe it’s been 2 years since Newsies the Musical first performed at Paper Mill Playhouse for its pre-Broadway run. The warm September evening that I trained it to Millburn and attended the dress rehearsal is still one of my favorite This Happy Place Blog memories. As a diehard theatre fan, it was also the first time I had the opportunity to follow a production from its very beginning and that definitely made my investment in Newsies even stronger.
In those 2 years, I’ve seen the show twice on Broadway (once when it just opened and the last time during Jeremy Jordan’s final performance as Jack Kelly), cheered them on from my couch for the Newsies, happily followed the cast members who moved on, and definitely got those tunes stuck in my head time and time again. (If you walk by the Nederlander Theatre, the music is playing on a loop and I can’t help but hum along.)
Newsies is such an energetic show with a ton of heart, catchy songs, and some of the most fantastic dancing I’ve ever seen. To celebrate its start at Paper Mill, the Newsies community is thank the fans for their support of the show with Newsies Fans Week with a new bit of online fun unveiled every day until the 21st. To join in the fun, I thought I would write about how Newsies made my theatre life just that much more awesome:
1. I don’t know how I could write this post without mentioning Jeremy Jordan. I’m sure I would have become a huge fan no matter where I heard him sing for the first time but there was something so electric about that night at the dress rehearsal. I’ve been a Jeremy enthusiast since then and I continue to be. Crossing my fingers he’ll be on Broadway someday soon and I’m psyched for his upcoming role in the movie version of The Last Five Years.
2. On the other side of this Newsies spectrum is the main lady played by Kara Lindsay.
Her character replaces Bill Pullman’s from the movie with an ambitious writer, Katharine. I actually really liked this change from screen to stage and my absolute favorite tune from Newsies is the one she sings: “Watch What Happens.”
But all I know is nothing happens if you just give in.
It can’t be any worse than how it’s been.
And it just so happens that we just might win,
so whatever happens! Let’s begin!
It’s nice to have a heroine to follow in the revised story; Katharine is feisty, funny, and hardworking. And those romantical scenes were too bad either. (She gets to kiss the cutest guys!)
3. Honestly, I didn’t go into this post thinking I would feature three people from the show but then then I started listening to “Seize the Day” and Ben Fankhauser was singing and how could I forget Davie? Great part, too little of Ben in the musical (in my opinion) but his voice is so great. Like Kara Lindsay, he’s still in the Broadway production too and you know, I just feel kind of joyous when I hear him sing.
In fact, without my love of Newsies, I don’t think I never would have gone to a May event where both Ben and Jeremy were singing original songs by Michael Mott and ahh, Ben just got me. Check out this performance:
He looks SO happy when he’s singing and it’s completely infectious.
4. I’m more of a theater person than a concert goer but the reception for the cast of Newsies before, during, and after the show is pretty comparable to a rock show if you ask me. People are SO excited especially during the dance sequences. Who can blame them? They are just so impressive. (Christopher Gattelli won a Tony for Best Choreography in 2012 for Newsies!) I would never trust myself to dance on newspapers but these guys are champs.
5. How do I wrap this up? More Alan Menken music? Check! Underdogs standing up to “the man”? You got it! A whole lot of fun, friendship and romance? Newsies has that too! It’s nice to see a new Disney stage show be successful, and I hope that Newsies is just the start of more wonderful turn outs for Disney Theatrical!