Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: Pioneer Theatre Company's NEWSIES is Exhilarating

BWW Review: Pioneer Theatre Company's NEWSIES is Exhilarating

Pioneer Theatre Company has managed to successfully reinvent NEWSIES while at the same time recreating the excitement and quality of the original production.

NEWSIES (music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, book by Harvey Fierstein) is based on the cult classic 1992 film. When Joseph Pulitzer raises the prices of newspapers, the newsboys who sell them go on strike. Their leader is the strong-willed Jack Kelly, who dreams of a better life outside the city but is fiercely loyal to his friends. Will they seize the day and win the fight?

The rousing, Tony-winning score contains the beloved songs from the film arranged for optimal vocals, along with a number of new songs that tug on the heartstrings and tap the toes. The story has been reimagined smartly, including the welcome addition of gutsy female reporter Katherine.

The leading cast could have easily played the roles on Broadway. Jonathan Shew as Jack is simultaneously rough-edged and vulnerable with vocals to match. He's a talented leading man the audience wants to root for. Nadia Vynn as Katherine is hard-nosed and soft-hearted with a voice like an angel. Their rooftop duet "Something to Believe In" is just that.

Also wonderful are Stephen Michael Langton as Davey, straight from the national tour, and Broadway actor William Parry as Joseph Pulitzer.

Really the entire cast is strong, and the dancing is quite extraordinary. With leaps and turns that defy gravity, every dance number impresses. Director/choreographer Karen Azenberg has created a vocabulary of movement that is something special, especially in the fluid transitions from scene to scene that use staging as a means to further character and plot development. The only quibble is that there is not more full out dancing throughout the show than there is.

Another key element to the seemingly effortless transitions is the appealing scenic design from George Maxwell, which morphs seamlessly into many different locations without the use of projections. The restrained lighting design by Kirk Bookman often takes center stage without ever seeming gratuitous.

The costume design by David Kay Michelsen is an accomplishment. A few of the newsboy costumes feel too color-coordinated, which adds a hint of an unwanted storybook quality, but otherwise the costumes feel grounded in historical reality. There is an accurate divide between the classes, and the many dresses worn by Katherine and Medda are absolutely gorgeous.

Even if you've seen NEWSIES before, this is an exhilarating production you won't want to miss.

NEWSIES plays through December 20, 2017. For tickets, call the box office at 801-581-6961 or visit

Photo Credit: L-R Nadia Vynn (Katherine) and Jonathan Shew (Jack)

From This Author - Tyler Hinton

Tyler Hinton has been a contributing editor at BroadwayWorld since January 2012. He has a BA from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in... (read more about this author)

Review: HADESTOWN at the Eccles Theater Sweeps You Away
August 3, 2022

The national tour of HADESTOWN at the Eccles Theater sweeps you away with its luminous and evocative storytelling. Deservedly a phenomenon of modern theatre, a trip down to HADESTOWN is one that will surely linger with you for long after.

Review: IN THE HEIGHTS at West Valley Arts is a Real Blast
July 16, 2022

IN THE HEIGHTS at West Valley Arts is a rapturous celebration of heritage and a real blast to experience.

Review: THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Hale Center Theater Orem is Showy but Intimate
July 9, 2022

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Hale Center Theater Orem is a splendidly showy but also intimately heartfelt love letter to musical theatre and its fans.

Review: SCERA's THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is a Jubilant Adventure
July 5, 2022

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre is a jubilant adventure that captures your eyes, ears, and heart.

Review: Hale Centre Theatre's Tender SILENT SKY is Life-Affirming
July 1, 2022

SILENT SKY on Hale Centre Theatre’s Jewel Box Stage is a tender testament to the triumph of the human spirit. It may be a play you haven’t heard of based on obscure history, but SILENT SKY is a life-affirming small treasure that has been lovingly brought to life in an engrossing production that deserves attention and accolades.