BWW Reviews: NEWSIES Delivers Another Win for the Buckeye State
Fresh off a National Championship victory, Buckeye fans celebrated at the Ohio Theatre with the rousing, energetic cast of Disney's NEWSIES.
The North American Tour launched earlier this year after a successful run on Broadway, winning Tony Awards for Alan Menken and Jack Feldman's score and Christopher Gattelli's choreography. NEWSIES scored big with Buckeye fans, proving again that underdogs can triumph in the face of adversity.
Based loosely on the real life story of the newsboys' labor strike of 1899 and the subsequent movie, NEWSIES portrays a group of underpaid newspaper workers in New York City who go on strike against their greedy corporate bosses. They rebel and challenge paper mogul, Joseph Pulitzer, who increases the cost of the newspapers and forces the urchins to pay upfront for anything unsold. Young ambitious journalist, Katherine Plumber (played superbly by Stephanie Styles), takes pity on the boys and helps to expose their plight.
It's a heartfelt David-and-Goliath story of unity and brotherhood with all the Disney happiness you'd expect. Director Jeff Calhoun moves the musical at a relentless pace with Choreographer Christopher Gattelli, who impressively delivers nonstop energy through his dynamic and explosive dancing.
Dan DeLuca plays the strike leader, Jack Kelly, with charisma and toughness, but also displays a tender side as he yearns for a better life in Santa Fe. Stephanie Styles portrays the smart journalist, Katherine Plumber, who eventually falls for Jack Kelly. She is sweet and approachable, but also brings sensibility and a pre-feminist determination to the role.
Zachary Sayle was last seen on the Ohio Theatre stage as the young "Jeremy Potts" in the National tour of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. All grown up, he has now matured into a true professional with vocals and talent that are unmatched. He brings sensitivity and inspiration to the role of Crutchie and maintains true to character throughout.
Steve Blanchard convincingly portrays the nasty tycoon, Joseph Pulitzer, who attempts to sabatoge the strike, and Angela Grovey gives a powerhouse performance as Medda in "That's Rich." Also noteable is Jacob Kemp as Davey, who surprises us with his impressive vocals as he emerges as a leader.
The entire ensemble performed as one strong core unit, singing and dancing with full acrobatic and gymnastic moves. Although a little sloppy technically on opening night at times, they never lacked energy or enthusiasm. "Carrying the Banner", "The World Will Know", "Seize the Day", and "King of New York" showcased their aggressive athleticism and powerful vocals.
The remarkable and massive metal set design by Tobin Ost allowed for constant horizontal and vertical movement to keep the show flowing at a quick pace. The orchestra, directed by James Dodgson, provided full and melodious sounds that resonated well in the theatre.
This touring production of NEWSIES has been tweaked to near perfection from its original Broadway version. A cast composed of stellar leads and electric ensemble, together with a brilliant score and explosive choreography make for a fresh and fun musical for all ages.
Now playing at the Ohio Theatre through January 18, 2015 only. Tickets for NEWSIES start at $28 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and online at www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, please call (866) 870-2717. Orders for groups of 20 or more may be placed by calling (614) 719-6900.