BWW Review: NEWSIES At Westchester Broadway TheatrePublished: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 By: Kathryn Kitt Source: BroadwayWorld
There is a joyful feeling in the air at Westchester Broadway Theatre's production of "Newsies." That's the only way to describe the euphoric energy one feels upon leaving the theatre. This production's got hummable songs, triple threat performers--and it delivers all-around goosebumps. My fourteen-year-old son, who was my plus one, could not believe how happy it made him feel. This show brought us both to another era of musical theater bliss.
"Newsies" was originally a 1992 Disney movie flop that starred Christian Bale. Kenny Ortega of "Dirty Dancing" fame choreographed. Disney decided to reboot it as a musical on Broadway with a luscious Tony-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman. Harvey Fierstein's book keeps the action moving. Yes, the melodies are reprised many times, but with songs like "Santa Fe" and "Seize the Day," it is hard not to want them repeated.
This true story is about an 1899 strike by New York City newspaper sellers. Most of them were children, runaways or orphans, and their only income was the tiny amount they made selling papers. The show's "Newsies" consist of Jack Kelly, a rough-around-the-edges artist, who takes on publisher Joseph Pulitzer (yes, that Pulitzer) for union protection. Jack rallies all the orphans and a feisty female reporter named Katherine to help fight for their rights.
Daniel Scott Walton, who plays Jack, has a throwback musical leading man persona. His acting choices and singing felt effortless. Mary Beth Donohue as Katherine sang, danced and acted right along with him with true chemistry. Her grit in the era when women were not allowed to be that outward is great modeling for the young audience who will most likely come to see this show through its run. The ensemble numbers brought down the house with all sorts of gymnastics and high kicking moves.
Directed by Mark Martino and choreographed by Shea Sullivan, one would be hard pressed to find a better musical on Broadway. The group numbers are so infectious my son and I wanted to jump on stage with the cast. The excellent musical numbers were conducted by Bob Brey, and the creative team embodied the era perfectly with their set design and costumes.
"Newsies" may be Disney-like by being a bit on the cartoonish side, but sometimes it is better just going into a show with happy expectations. Yes, it has villains, yes it has archetype characters, but if you are looking for a way to leave your worries at the door, this is the show to see. I am kind of jealous that my daughter is going in a few weeks but so excited for her to have the opportunity.