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BWW Review: NEWSIES Makes Headlines at Beef & Boards

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Quite literally a dance dance revolution

BWW Review: NEWSIES Makes Headlines at Beef & Boards Now's the time to seize some tickets for Beef & Board's showing of NEWSIES. This fun and high-energy show provokes a nice balance of laughter and thought, as the newsies of New York take on "the big guys."

Celeste:

Few things can light up a musical theater stage like a large group of men dancing their hearts out. NEWSIES is a celebration of song, but it really brings the dance. Cheers to Ron Morgan for creating choreography that keeps up the pace without sacrificing the passion that is at the heart of this show.

The men may have been the lords of the dance, but the ladies sure packed a punch, too. Sarah Daniels was an exceptional Katherine. Her unparalleled pipes made those man-boys sit up and take notice. She brought the sass and the class to her role to match the gritty gumption of Joshua Schwartz as Jack Kelly.

Another woman not to be outdone, in spite of her short time on the stage, was Tiffanie Holifield as Medda Larkin. She had an abundance of presence as she strutted across the stage. You could tell from her first step she owned it. Her presence was matched by her strong vocals and accentuated by some great costuming by Jill Kelly Howe.

She may have played a boy, but I'm counting her with the girls. Ellie Rabuck was a perfect, precocious Les. She performed not only from a diminished height but also through a mask, since she is a young performer. That in no way kept her from leaving an impression and creating some wonderful comedic moments.

As summer winds to an end and you look around for that last bit of fun to squeeze in, be sure to include NEWSIES in your plans. The show runs now through October 3rd at Beef & Boards.

Dylan:

For a movie that was costly and failure, 1992's Newsies picked up a fan following, mostly from cable and video. Even the public lack of love, hasn't soured the affection of the people who fell for the story back then and are now among those pumping enthusiasm into today's performances.

Led by 17-year-old runaway Jack (Joshua Schwartz), the boys create an impromptu union and call a strike, inciting violent consequences. With help from Katherine (Sarah Daniels), a well-connected reporter, they unite the NYC boroughs and expose the exploitation of the oppressed.

It was really the attractive cast and the high-energy physicality of director Elizabeth Stark Payne's production that made the show engaging. Schwartz was a gifted lead who brought charisma to his role and mix of wise-guy attitude, leadership, and romance. His yearning solo, "Santa Fe," was a high point.

The boys were a boisterous bunch who played up the accents to cartoonish effect, which will either be adorable or annoying, depending on your mood. Making some honorable mentions were roles are Justin Jasiewicz as Davey, the organizational brains behind Jack, Chris Trombetta as the lame but spirited Crutchie, and Ellie Rabuck as Davey's little brother, whose grit was a complete inverse proportionate to her size. And while Ron Morgan's acrobatics showed more propulsion than range, the male ensemble attacked every flying pirouette and gravity-defying flip with gusto.

It's tough not to like an upbeat story about a group of young kids who beat the odds in a true David-and-Goliath story. For what was originally released to be a family musical, Newsies turned into one of the more ardently pro-union productions. Even in current day, where the idea of workers uniting to fight back against the machine, the show still has bite. Its signature song, "Seize the Day," spoke to the core idea of people being stronger together, fighting against the the too rich and powerful.


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