Watch What Happens- NEWSIES From Screen to Stage!
NEWSIES plays its final performance on Broadway this coming Sunday, August 24, but BroadwayWorld (and the rest of New York, we hope) isn't ready to let the musical leave just yet! All this week we're bringing you snapshots from the NEWSIES "paper route" -- from the movie to how the show got to the Great White Way, to the show's still-burgeoning fandom, and its award-winning cast and creative team.
NEWSIES features a Tony Award-winning score with music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, with a book by four-time Tony Award winnerHarvey Fierstein. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, NEWSIES is directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, who won a 2012 Tony Award for his work.
In honor of the beloved show's final week of performances, BWW is taking a look back at some of the biggest changes made from screen to stage.
For the most part, the same ragtag band of newsboys make up the core of both the movie and musical, but most die-hard Fansies can easily point out the biggest changes made to the character list between 1992 and 2012.
Sarah: Jack's love interest and Davey/Les' sister from the film was removed completely from the musical to make room for a new heroine. With no big songs or major cinematic moments, it was no major loss.
Denton: Played by Bill Pullman in the movie, the New York Sun Reporter had some lovely moments with the boys during "King of New York" and its surrounding scenes, but he too was removed from the story.
Katherine: Perhaps the biggest addition of Harvey Fierstein's updated book, she fills the void of the previous two characters. A young girl with a secret, she's determined to be taken seriously in a man's world.
Mr. & Mrs. Jacobs: Both are minor characters in the movie, but appearances from Davey and Les' parents were deemed unnecessary to the updated plot.
Patrick's Mother: A Fansies favorite character- she unfortunately doesn't make an appearance in the Broadway musical, but she certainly left a major impression considering her camera time!
Alan Menken and Jack Feldman worked hard at perfecting their tunes from the film for the stage. Most of the songs have at least slightly-changed lyrics, added dance breaks, or have been reworked entirely (check out an example below). Lost songs include "My Lovey Dovey Baby," and "High Times, Hard Times," while added gems include "The Bottom Line," "That's Rich," "Don't Come A-Knocking," "I Never Planned on You," "Watch What Happens," "Brooklyn's Here," and "Something to Believe In."
Both versions of the story are 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. The film runs about an hour and a half, while the musical lasts for two hours and twenty minutes, so some significant changes were made.
Jack the painter: In the musical, Jack is able to put his thoughts to paper and express his frustrations with society through his artwork. Jack creates backdrops for his good friend Medda and that gives him the resources to paint for himself as well.
Brooklyn's Here: Jack and company never take the trip to Brooklyn to meet with Spot Conlon in the musical. Instead, the dreaded Brooklyn newsies make an appearance towards the middle of Act 2.
So long, Crutchie: Unlike the film, Jack and Davey never try to rescue Crutchie from the Refuge. After he is apprehended, he doesn't make another appearance until the end of Act 2.
The outcome: Without giving anything away, there is more of a compromise at the end of the musical between Pulitzer and the Newsies than an outright victory.