EIGHT TONYS, HELL YEAH!
Extra extra! (I know “extra” jokes are so played out by this point, but they’re also funny.) Newsies is one of the best things going on Broadway right now. Of course you don’t need me to tell you this, since it just got nominated for eight Tonys, including Best Musical. I reviewed the cast recording a few months ago, and promised to do a proper show review once I’d seen it. Well I’ve seen it now, and let me tell you: the music is only half of what makes this show so amazing. I don’t trust myself to write in paragraphs without turning this review into a giant run-on sentence of gushing, so let’s do it bullet point style!
(Fun sidenote: the book was written by Harvey Fierstein. Did you know Jeff Goldblum’s boss from Independence Day was a brilliant writer? Neither did I.)
Everyone got your pop and chips? Finished the crinkly stuff before the lights go down? Okay, good. For those coming in late, we just covered Act One, which ended with Jack breaking down in an agony of guilt and grief over leading the newsies into a fight he doesn’t think they can win. Wow, how uplifting right? Don’t worry, things are looking up.
The Newsies Broadway Cast Recording is available on iTunes.
In 1992, Disney released what they hoped would be the first in a new line of live-action musicals they could add to their repetoire. Their hopes were quickly dashed when Newsies bombed like hell in theatres, and hopes for an expanded brand name were quietly shelved. But much like the vaunted newsboys of the title, word spread as the movie landed on VHS and later DVD, and for twenty years, fans agitated for the story to be taken to the stage. Two years ago, Alan Menken (who wrote the original music) and Harvey Fierstein teamed up to rewrite the book and songs, and after a brief but wildly successful run at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, Newsies is finally taking its place on Broadway.
I was one of those agitating fans back in the day—still am, although these days I’m more invested in it getting buried in an avalanche of Tonys—so seeing the show reach Broadway is essentially a dream come true for me. Not only that, but I come from a long and proud line of unionizers (my great-grandfather somewhat infamously turned down an OBE because he knew the government was trying to make nice with his union) so the musical’s themes of standing up for your rights and working together ring especially loud and clear for me. I saw the show at Paper Mill and thought I’d never get the chance to repeat the experience, so this really is my dream come true. So let’s see what Menken and Fierstein have in store, shall we?