BWW Review: Disney's NEWSIES at The Lexington Theatre Company
The company of Disney's Newsies. Photo courtesy of The Lexington Theatre Company.
Since it's premiere in 2012, Disney's Newsies has been nothing short of a "little show that could" success story. Originally intended for licensing, the show went on to play a successful open ended run in NYC, and subsequently toured the national for several years. In the time since it's release into the world of regional and community theatre, it's become a popular title for high schools, community theatre, and professional theatre alike. Like The Lexington Theatre Company's previous offering, West Side Story, there's no real NEED for another production of the show due to the frequent productions, however, The Lexington Theatre Company makes a strong case for theirs, yet again proving that Broadway's Best can shine brightly alongside those Broadway hopefuls trying to make it big.
This production is led by the charming and scrappy Dan DeLuca as Jack Kelly, reprising the role after originating it on the show's 1st National Tour. As you can imagine, he's been playing the role for so long that he has tailored his performance so specifically that it's hard to imagine anyone better for the part. His humor is effortless, and his vocals soar to fill the Lexington Opera House. Opposite him is Tessa Grady as Katherine. Grady is subtle with her humorous moments, never going too far over the top, she makes Katherine relatable, which for me makes the role that much funnier. She also gets a chance to showcase her marvelous vocal skills here, blending voice technique and comedic moments flawlessly.
Another big standout is Carrie Compere as Medda Larkin. The role isn't large, but the minute she started her big first act number, the world was hers and we as the audience were just lucky to be living in it. As our villain Stephen R. Buntrock as Pulitzer is great as well. It's not always easy playing the old white man, but Buntrock sells it completely with charisma and gusto in his scenes as well as his songs.
The ensemble is uniformly terrific. Newsies is known for is complicated dancing and this company doesn't miss a single step. Just when you think they've reached the limit, they prove you wrong, popping off the stage like marvelous fireworks. It's truly a sight to behold. That also speaks for the choreography by Mara Newbery Greer as well. Greer did Newsies exactly how it should be done, with true triple threats.
The set design isn't anything revolutionary, but it was elaborate in more ways then one, and at times very innovative paired with Lyndy Franklin Smith's staging which often is very innovative and ingenious in itself.
As I said before, there will always be a production of Newsies to see, the quality of these productions are bound to differ. It is my personal opinion that The Lexington Theatre Company's production is worth seeing just for that reason. When Newsies is done well, it's a great night at the theater, and I'd even venture to say that you haven't seen a production of this caliber since the original broadway staging. The Lexington Theatre Company has done it yet again.
Disney's Newsies runs August 1 - 4 at the Lexington Opera House. Tickets can be found at ticketmaster.com!