Newsies, the new American musical, will open at Broadway’s Nederlander Theater for a strictly limited 101 performance engagement on March 29.
Newsies, the breakout new American musical, will move to Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre (208 W 41st St) for a strictly limited 101 performance run following its critically-hailed stint at Paper Mill Playhouse earlier this fall. The musical, featuring a score by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy), will play its first Broadway preview on March 15 prior to its March 29 opening night; the final performance is scheduled for June 10. Newsies, produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, is directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (Big River revival) and choreographed by Tony nominee Christopher Gattelli (South Pacificrevival).
Though intended only as a pilot production before the title was licensed for regional, professional and amateur productions, Newsies‘ Paper Mill run engendered extraordinary interest from the media and public alike. The show’s cast was invited to perform on ABC’s The View, the first time in that show’s 15-season history that a regional production had ever done so. Fans who had waited nearly 20 years to see Newsies live onstage, alongside audiences discovering the work for the first time, caused a sensation heard all the way to Times Square, prompting Newsweek.com to call the show, “one of the biggest surprises of the season… the talk of the town.”
And, when it opened at Paper Mill on September 25, Newsies was hailed as a fresh, disarming surprise. The New York Times, among others, praised the “terrific, rousing songs and a sweet, funny, emotionally satisfying book,” calling it, “a stirring crowd-pleaser” and “a musical worth singing about.”
“In this company’s 17-year history, we have never seen a show so immediately and fervently embraced this early in its life,” Thomas Schumacher, producer and president, Disney Theatrical Productions, says. ”It’s clear that the themes of Newsies—of the younger generation taking their place, of the underclass righting injustice—are extraordinarily timely. We could never have imagined our show would be called to Broadway in the way it has but we could not be prouder that it’s resonating so deeply.” Casting will be announced at a later date.
Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged “newsies,” who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.
Newsies is inspired by the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.
Newsies has had an unexpected journey to Broadway. The stage adaptation had been developed for licensing to theatre groups and its Paper Mill run intended only as a pilot production for that market. The planned next step was to immediately release the title to the theatres and schools who had for many years made Newsies the single most requested title of all the Disney film musicals not yet adapted to the stage.
The stage version introduces several brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York,” and “Santa Fe.”
The film Newsies has grown into a cult phenomenon with a generation having grown up on the movie’s driving, infectious score since its 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD. Its popularity had grown so dramatically, in fact, that the film’s 2002 DVD release was solely in response to demand from its ardent fans. The film featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).