Assuming Bale's role as head newsie Jack Kelly on Broadway, Jeremy Jordan (survivor of the recent Bonnie & Clyde) proves he doesn't need anyone wandering into his sight lines to be an explosive presence on stage. Blessed with a crystalline voice, Jordan conveys a rare combination of masculine swagger and vulnerability. He gets a worthy foil and love interest in aspiring reporter Katherine (charming newcomer Kara Lindsay), one of several smart additions to the film's story by playwright Harvey Fierstein. She also lands one of Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman's best new songs, the delightful double-talking 'Watch What Happens.'
NEWSIES THE MUSICAL Broadway Reviews
Reviews of Newsies The Musical on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for Newsies The Musical including the New York Times and More...
The hallmarks of Disney on Broadway -- lavishly expensive sets and costumes, state-of-the art automation and writers seemingly under the direction of some marketing wizard from Burbank -- are thoroughly and gratifyingly absent in "Newsies," the corker of a family musical from the Mouse House. Sparked by a star-making performance from Jeremy Jordan, a tunefully friendly score from Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, and high-leaping choreography by Christopher Gattelli, "Newsies" is Disney's happiest outing since "The Lion King."
Rousing songs by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, high-energy dance numbers, an appealing cast and an uplifting story make this reconceived version of the Christian Bale movie one of Disney Theatrical's most entertaining new properties in years...You can call the show brashly formulaic, sentimental or simplistic, but Newsies adheres to a time-honored Disney tradition of inspirational storytelling in the best possible sense. It woiks.
After a brief twenty-year incubation period, Newsies is finally onstage where it belongs, in a Jeff Calhoun-directed production that’s as gloriously square as it is automatically ingratiating. ... Harvey Fierstein’s book, fleet and witty for the most part, does contain a few tiresomely repeated beats, especially when it comes to Jack’s character. ... Newcomer Kara Lindsay, as plucky reporter and romantic foil Katherine Plummer, commits double-hard to the well-worn spunky-gal trope and comes out of it with a winning performance.
Calhoun, whose last job was directing "Bonnie & Clyde," has smartly brought along from that short-lived musical his Clyde (Jordan, whose looks and voice and intensity will melt many a heart) as well as Tobin Ost, the set designer. Here, Ost has created three massive rolling steel towers that get a workout as they twist and turn to resemble various cityscapes, often nicely paired with Sven Ortel's projections. "Newsies" will likely now go from Broadway to high school auditoriums across the country. Part history lesson, part fable and part love story, it's practically got its bags packed. Hopefully, by making newsies heroic, it'll also revive the business of "papes" – sorry, newspapers.
What the show, directed with rousing two-dimensional enthusiasm by Jeff Calhoun, lacks in originality is disguised -- if not quite hidden -- by a big, talented cast of actors (and several actresses). There is also ingenious erector-set scenery by Tobin Ost and, especially, lots of exuberant, soft-bounce high-precision tap, balletic and acrobatic invention by choreographer Christopher Gattelli. Jeremy Jordan, who made his first impression this season in the short-lived "Bonnie and Clyde," is the heart -- even the heartthrob -- of the action as Jack Kelly, leader of the homeless urchins. With his big jaw and his bad-boy glint, Jordan suggests the seriously comic appeal of Donald Duck's handsome nephew.
Newsies' contrivances are served with a light, knowing touch, and made even more palatable by the easy infectiousness of Alan Menken and Jack Feldman's songs and the youthful exuberance of the cast, under Jeff Calhoun's sprightly direction.
The Newsies, led by Jeremy Jordan’s spunkily dese-dem-dose Jack Kelly, are inexhaustible. Like the happy, hungry pickpockets in “Oliver!” their tribulations fade in the hook of a catchy anthem, several of which have been provided by Menken (music) and Feldman (lyrics), augmenting their score for the film.
Jeff Calhoun's production moves around Tobin Ost's metallic set mostly with efficiency, and John Dossett's villainous Joseph Pulitzer is a zesty creation, but there are no real surprises of any sort; in the formative sense, there's nothing one has not seen before. The number “Seize the Day” comes with top-drawer musical excitement, but this is not Alan Menken's best score for the theater, nor do Jack Feldman's lyrics dance easily in your head.
Like I said, it's not deep--and it sort of just ends--but it's zippy fun, and it's so expertly done, I might even write about it in the pape too. Extra! Extra! Newsies is a hit.
Not greatly altered since its New Jersey stint, this Disney Theatrical Production stage version of a cult movie is a cheerfully old-fashioned mix of a stirring story with a catchy score. And did I mention that the dancing by a terrific ensemble is mighty awesome? And then some!
There's not a new idea about musicals in Newsies - just a superb rendering of all the old ones. The show makes you realize again that, against all odds, musicals can feel like real life. ... The choreography by Christopher Gattelli adds another striking element and the cast dances it with real joy, executing its demanding slides, flips and high-jumps as though they were innate movements.
The movie didn’t work. But director Jeff Calhoun, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, who wrote songs for the film, and book writer Harvey Fierstein deserve credit for what is a mostly banner makeover. ... There’s no question that Jordan (known for the film “Joyful Noise” and Calhoun’s short-lived “Bonnie and Clyde”) steps up to carry the show. Like a Page 1 headline, he announces himself as a powerhouse talent. Whenever he and the other newsies are on stage, the show flies. Too bad it sinks when the adults appear, an issue that's still unresolved. Media mogul Pulitzer and vaudeville star Medda Larkin (Capathia Jenkins) remain mere cardboard cutouts.
And if not "King Of New York," I have to say it's loaded with some very appealing princes. ... But it’s Jeremy Jordan as the swaggering Jack Kelly who once again takes "Newsies" to new heights. He is a star, yes even a Broadway king, in the making.
You can see why [Jeremy Jordan is] being hailed as Broadway’s new star hunk. Jordan may want to unclench his manly jaws once in a while, but his charming Jack hits a good balance of sexiness and humor, and he has a velvety singing voice. Still, there’s a reason the show’s title is plural: The story is about strength in numbers, and the best songs all deploy the big ensemble.
Menken’s dozen songs, spiced with some undeniably catchy tunes, get the treatment they deserve, backed by a live 12-piece band and put forth by a splendid cast that is not only as good-looking as those in the movie; these performers can actually sing. And dance. The choreography by Christopher Gattelli is dazzling. The acrobatic moves – leaps and kicks, back flips and mid-air somersaults – put “Newsies” up there with “Memphis” and “Anything Goes” for the most thrilling dancing currently on Broadway. Why they’re dancing is not always clear. At several moments in “Newsies,” I found myself asking: What exactly does this chorus line have to do with the plot? But perhaps this is just as well. “Newsies” may be based on a true story, but the story here feels largely synthetic.
Jeff Calhoun's excellent production benefits from a three-story set design of scaffolds, complimented by cinematic projections, and Christopher Gattelli's spectacular choreography. The absolutely incredible young males in the cast do back-flips and audacious balletic spins, tap-dance on bar tables and shuffle with sheets of newspaper under their feet. Jordan, who starred in the flop "Bonnie and Clyde" earlier this season, proves himself yet again to be a genuine matinee idol as Jack. His theatrical performance bursts with an aggressive fighting spirit and sincere adolescent emotion.
Here are a few titles of the songs by Alan Menken (music) and Jack Feldman (lyrics): “Carrying the Banner,” “The World Will Know,” “Seize the Day,” “Something to Believe In” and “Once and for All.” And if you asked me to explain what distinguishes one of these songs from another, I couldn’t begin to without consulting my notes, my program and possibly the show’s director, Jeff Calhoun, and book writer, Harvey Fierstein...But that doesn’t stop them from burning energy like toddlers on a sugar high at a birthday party. As choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, they keep coming at us in full-speed-ahead phalanxes, fortified by every step in a Broadway-by-the-numbers dance book. There are back flips, cartwheels, somersaults and kick lines galore, not to mention enough pirouettes to fill a whole season of “Swan Lake.”