Hot off the press! Newsies the Musical is now at the Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 By: Irene Wallace Source: I On The Valley

The Tony Award-winning Broadway show, Newsies The Musical is now on stage at the Westchester Broadway Theatre.  The show which ran on Broadway for over 2 years before going out on tour has now come to our WBT in this first-rate production.

Newsies is based on a 1992 film of the same name.  The story recalls the actual events of a newsboys strike in New York City in 1899.  Many of the newsboys hawking papers on the streets were orphans, homeless or just from very poor families.  They were out working hard for every penny.   As newspapers were the prime source of news during this period, the competition was fierce among papers.  Selling papers meant attention-grabbing headlines. With a lull in news stories, two rival papers decide to raise the prices they charge the newsies in order to make up for the lack of paper sales.

The newsies (both boys and girls) decide the rich newspaper owners like Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst should not be lining their pockets off the labor of the poor newsies.  Inspired by the growing labor movement, the young newsies decide to strike against the papers.  This David versus Goliath struggle of the young and poor versus the rich and powerful is timeless and relevant today.

Newsies is written and presented in the classic format of the Broadway musical.  There are close to 20 different songs that and the performance is dance heavy with the large cast providing wonderful and carefully crafted choreography.  Though the songs were not familiar to my ears, they are pleasant and catchy as a good musical score should.  Lyrics are by Jack Feldman and score by Alan Menken. Menken is a multi-award winner and has written the music for Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act and A Bronx Tale the Musical.  The book is by award-winning writer Harvey Fierstein.

Daniel Scott Walton is the lead actor playing Jack Kelly the leader of the newsies rebellion.  Kelly is a fictional character based on some of the strike leaders and Mr. Walton performance was a crowd pleaser.  Stuart Marland as Pulitzer gives an excellent performance of the famous newspaper publisher.  He played the role of Pulitzer on Broadway.

Mary Beth Donahoe is the main female lead as the fictional character of Katherine Plumber  (Pulitzer) and her performance lights up the stage as her educated, well-groomed character is the perfect counter to the streetwise and rough-edged, Jack Kelly.   A special mention goes out to Benjamin Wohl the youngest member of the cast who plays Les the young brother of Davey whose father was injured and cannot work and must sell papers to help his family.  This very young actor really charmed the full house.

If you have not seen Newsies on Broadway, this is your chance to see a Broadway-quality show right here in Westchester.  A talented cast of 24 actors fills the stage at WBT with song and complex dance number.  Credit to Shea Sullivan for the choreography and Mark Martino for his direction of this large cast.

This is a show that captures the human spirit of the downtrodden and the disadvantaged rising up as one and seeking justice.  It is a story that was relevant in 1899 as it is today.