“NEWSIES” MAKES HEADLINES

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2019 By: Marlene S. Gaylinn Source: On CT Theatre

Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT) “Newsies” is an entertaining, inspiring show that is being presented for the whole family and just in time for the Spring Holidays.  The musical was inspired by a true story about New York City newsboys who went on strike against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst in 1899 because sales were declining, and they wanted to charge newsboys more for the papers that they distributed on the streets.

When the 1992 Disney film was re-developed for the stage in 2012 with lyricist Jack Feldman, composer Alan Menken plus playwright Harvey Fierstein, it was nominated for 8 Tony Awards and won for “Best Original Score.” Interestingly, Christopher Gattelli won the award for Best Choreography.  This recognition was due to the show’s numerous dance sequences, and Gatelli’s knack for bringing out the best features of his individual, male dancers.  Gattelli choreographed many successful Broadway musicals including the revivals of:  “South Pacific,” “Godspell” and “The King and I.”

As one dance sequence practically follows another, “Newsies” can be considered a dance musical.  At WBT, the energetic choreography was created by Shea Sullivan who also features the best dance executions of her male dancers and includes several newsgirls to be politically correct.

Our hero, Daniel Scott Walton, takes full command of WBT’s thrust stage as the union organizer, “Jack Kelly.” He not only rouses the newsboy’s spirits, he makes the audience members want to follow him too.  Mary Beth Donahoe plays Walton’s sweetheart, “Katherine.”  The couple’s fine voices blend tenderly in the melodious duet, “Something to Believe In.”  When Donahoe mingles with the newsboys she becomes an outstanding tap dancer too.  

Benjamin Wohl is the youngest newsboy, “Les.”  One can easily see that he’s a smart kid and truly enjoys stealing some scenes.  Patrick Tombs effectively plays “Crutchie” in his solo, “Letter from the Refuge.”  Stuart Marland (“Pulitzer”), Galyana Castillo (“Medda Larkin”) and Alec Cohen (“Davy”) are excellent leading characters.  Mark Martino aptly directs the large cast.  Bob Bray is the expert, musical director.

“Newsies” is loaded with lively songs and dances that will delight the whole family.  This dinner theatre’s varied menu also caters to children tastes and convenient parking is free.