Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: NEWSIES at Connecticut Repertory Theatre

There are many reasons why people love to hear stories of the underdog making his or her voice heard and creating real change in the world. Sometimes it is because they can relate to the lone voice of reason cutting through the noise, or the brave soul willing to stand up for what's right, regardless of the consequences. But it is often the tale of the struggling souls who raise their voices, take action and change their circumstances for the better that really stand out and strike a chord. And in NEWSIES, the final production of Connecticut Repertory Theatre's (CRT) Summer Nutmeg Series, the stage comes alive with the "inspired by real-life" story of how a few young men "seized the day" and made a real difference.

Set in turn-of-the century New York City, NEWSIES tells the tale of Jack Kelly (Jim Schubin) and his motley crew of newsboys (or Newsies) who go on strike to protest their unfair treatment, and end up making a positive impact for all the young workers working in the city at the time. NEWSIES is inspired by a real event - the Newsboy Strike of 1899, and explores themes that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago, including social justice, corporate greed, and unfair labor practices.

Overall, CRT's production of NEWSIES is vibrant, energetic, emotional and relatable. The relationships on stage feel real and authentic and the struggle (though punctuated with singing and acrobatic dancing) seems oddly current. Christopher d'Amboise, who serves as both Director and Choreographer captures the emotion of the piece, effectively using the CRT stage and guiding the actors nimbly through very difficult dance numbers. And, while the stage itself is smaller than the original Broadway stage, Mr. d'Amboise fills every inch with leaping, spinning, and flying newsboys. It is truly magnificent to see and one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of the show.

Speaking of highlights, the cast of NEWSIES is strong across the board. Jim Schubin as Jack Kelly lends his strong profile and his soaring tenor voice to the confident, yet conflicted, leader of the gang. His performance of "Santa Fe" to close the first act is raw and brilliant and worth the price of admission alone. Tyler Jones' Crutchie is feeble, yet funny, Tuck Sweeney stands out as the gruff, cigar smoking Race, and as brothers Davey and Les, Noah Kieserman and Atticus L. Burello also shine. The ensemble really raises the bar as well. Every group production number and song is exciting to behold. As Joseph Pulitzer, Richard R. Henry is comically sinister and Tina Fabrique as Medda Larkin delivers a funny yet strong "That's Rich". Finally, as Katherine Plumber, Paige Smith is bold and convincing as the hard-headed young journalist.

In terms of the technical elements of NEWSIES, Tim Brown's scenic designs are realistic, functional and fluid, capturing the period well and filling the stage effectively. Fan Zhang's costumes are also great, especially when given the opportunity to use color, such as in Medda's dresses. The musicians, led by Music Director NDavid Williams are also extremely strong.

NEWSIES is a show that excites audiences while telling an important story of a difficult time in our history. It is both extremely entertaining and thought provoking, and one that leaves audiences smiling and thinking as they leave the theater. Whether you are a newcomer to the show or a rabid "Fansie", CRT's production does not disappoint.

NEWSIES by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) runs at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT through July 16. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Subscription package options range from $30 to $99. Single tickets prices range from $12 to $55. For additional ticket information or to purchase tickets by phone, call 860.486.2113. To purchase tickets online, visit

Top Photo Credit - The Newsies lift Jack Kelly (Jim Schubin) Photo by Gerry Goodstein

Mid Photo Credit - JamAl Fields-Green (Ensemble), Tyler Jones (Crutchie), Spencer Croy (Finch), Jim Schubin (Jack Kelly), Tuck Sweeney (Race) Photo by Gerry Goodstein

Bottom Photo Credit - Richard R. Henry (Pulitzer), Cullen Reis (Oscar Delancy), Aiden Marchetti (Seitz), Jim Schubin (Jack Kelly) and Alessandro Gian Viviano (Morris Delancy. Photo by Gerry Goodstein

Playhouse on Park to Present World Premiere of DANDELION Beginning in April Photo
DANDELION, adapted from the children's book by Don Freeman, will run from April 25 - May 14th at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford, CT. This production is part of Playhouse on Park's Theatre for Young Audience Series, and is recommended for Grades Pre-K - 3.

Drama Works Theatre Company To Present The Powerful Family Dramedy, INDEPENDENCE Photo
Old Saybrook's Drama Works Theatre Company will continue their 2023 season with Lee Blessing's Independence.

The Met: Live in HD Brings FALSTAFF to the Warner in April Photo
The Met: Live in HD, the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning series of live high-definition cinema simulcasts, presents Giuseppe Verdi's FALSTAFF, Saturday, April 1 at 12:30 pm ET, in the Warner Theatre's Oneglia Auditorium (Main Stage). 

Latanya Farrell Joins Playhouse Theatre Groups ENCORE! RAZZLE DAZZLE: A TRIBUTE TO THE WOR Photo
Join Playhouse Theatre Group, Inc. for their annual fundraiser, ENCORE and dance 'till midnight to the music of CT local Latanya Farrell (back by popular demand)! The gala will be held on Saturday, May 13th, 2023. The theme this year is RAZZLE DAZZLE: A TRIBUTE TO THE WORK OF JOHN KANDER.

From This Author - Joseph Harrison

Joseph Harrison has been involved with the theatre in some form or fashion all his life. He holds a Journalism degree from the University of Georgia, but his true love is the theatre which he has b... (read more about this author)

Review: PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT at Titusville PlayhouseReview: PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT at Titusville Playhouse
March 12, 2023

One of the things I love about musical theatre is how it can be so many different things all at once. Shows that tackle a deep subject or address a serious social topic sit next to light and fun stories of queens and knights in shining armor, and all make great musicals. And some shows, like PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT tackle all of the above, but do so wrapped in a glittery, colorful wrapping. So, I was particularly excited to make it out to Titusville to see Titusville Playhouse’s PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (now playing through March 26th) – and found there a rollicking, good time that also strikes a particular nerve at this moment in history.

Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at New Generation TheatricalReview: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at New Generation Theatrical
March 5, 2023

Who is creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky? It’s the Addams family of course! This iconic, weird and wacky family first graced the pages of the New Yorker in a comic strip by Charles Addams 85 years ago and since then have spawned a fan-favorite 1960’s TV show, a series of films and even a recent hit series, “Wednesday”, on Netflix. But in Andrew Lippa’s 2010 Broadway musical, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, audiences get to see a new side of the macabre exploits of Gomez, Morticia and their family – told through the magic of musical theatre. But like everything the Addams family does, this musical is far from normal. And New Generation Theatrical’s latest production of the musical hits all the right notes (played on an old, dusty organ of course) and creates an immersive treat that is a thrill to experience.

Interview: Megan Reinking of BROADWAY ON THE ROCKS at Hyatt Regency OrlandoInterview: Megan Reinking of BROADWAY ON THE ROCKS at Hyatt Regency Orlando
February 28, 2023

A new cabaret series is now underway in Orlando featuring stars from some of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. The series, called “Broadway On the Rocks” will offer it’s next show on Saturday, March 4th at the newly renovated Rocks Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. During each one-hour show, performers will share songs and stories from their lives on-stage, accompanied by pianist John R. Mason, III. Taking the stage on April 22nd will be Megan Reinking (HAIR, DRACULA THE MUSICAL, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire). I caught up with Megan and talked about her theatrical career, her experience on Broadway, and her thoughts on living in Orlando.

Review: THE PROM at Theatre South PlayhouseReview: THE PROM at Theatre South Playhouse
February 12, 2023

Getting to see a newer musical produced for the first time in the area by a local theatre is a particular thrill. That is especially the case for a musical like THE PROM, which has built a following due to it’s popular Broadway run and the recent musical film on Netflix. And in the hands of the skilled creative team and fantastic cast at Theatre South Playhouse, this Central Florida regional professional premiere is in excellent hands. It is fresh and fantastic and in the intimate TSP space, the audience is given the rare chance to connect on a personal level with the frenetic and fun story unfolding on stage.

Interview: Lindsay Northen And Jared Bradshaw performing in BROADWAY ON THE ROCKS cabaret at the Hyatt Regency OrlandoInterview: Lindsay Northen And Jared Bradshaw performing in BROADWAY ON THE ROCKS cabaret at the Hyatt Regency Orlando
February 11, 2023

A new cabaret series is coming to the Orlando featuring stars from some of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. The series, called “Broadway On the Rocks” premieres on Saturday, February 18th at the newly renovated Rocks Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Orlando and is just the first of three concerts planned. During each one-hour show, performers will share songs and stories from their lives on-stage, accompanied by pianist John R. Mason, III. Taking the stage for the first performance in the series will be Lindsay Northen (WICKED) and Jared Bradshaw (JERSEY BOYS, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY), a talented husband and wife duo who relocated to Orlando during the pandemic and have come to call the City Beautiful home. I caught up with Jared and Lindsay and talked about their Broadway journey, how they ended up here in Orlando, their YouTube following and what to expect during their evening of cabaret.