BWW Reviews: NEWSIES National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
Based on the 1992 Disney film of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the real-life newsboys strike of 1899 in New York City, Newsies tells the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York.
The original movie opened in theatres on April 10th, 1992 where it was an initial box office flop earning 5 Razzie Award nominations (including Worst Picture of the Year), but had since then developed a cult following after being released on home video. Much to the demand of 'Fansies', a stage adaptation premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey on September 25th, 2011 where it received many rave reviews. The production then debuted on Broadway on March 29th, 2012. It went on to earn 8 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical), and a run of 1,005 performances after closing on August 24th, 2014.
The national touring production currently playing through June 7th tells an empowering David and Goliath story of kids wanting to stand up to the big guys in order to fight for their rights. Apply that to a very tuneful score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, this is a show that audiences will no doubt go crazy over, but for good reasons!
The entire ensemble of men playing the newsboys are skillful, youthful, energetic, and convincing as kids. Dan DeLuca is fearless and convincing in the leading role of Jack Kelly; Steve Blanchard gives an aggressive portrayal of publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer; Stephanie Styles gives a very convincing and vulnerable performance as reporter Katherine Plummer; Angela Grovey stops the show as vaudeville star Medda Larkin; Zachary Sayle gives a heartfelt performance as the cripple Crutchie; Vincent Crocilla is a very talented kid playing young newsboy, Les.
Under director Jeff Calhoun's inventive staging comes a moving three-story set designed by Tobin Ost; informative projections adapted by Daniel Brodie from Sven Ortel's original designs; some terrific efficient lighting designs by Jeff Croiter; some very authentic costumes designed by Jess Goldstein; elevating sounds designed by Ken Travis; but most of all, the explosive choreography by Tony Award Winner Christopher Gattelli!
The headline I give you is that Disney has not only given us another theatrical home run, but a very important musical as well, that I think audiences of all ages could take something away from.
For more information regarding the tour, please visit www.newsiesthemusical.com.