Review Roundup: NEWSIES Makes Headlines at The Muny
Based on Disney's 1992 cult classic film, Newsies tells the rousing tale of the great Newsboy Strike of 1899. Jack Kelly, a charismatic and resilient newspaper boy, leads a bunch of New York City rag-tag orphans in a clash against the mighty publishing titan, Joseph Pulitzer. With a score by Alan Menken, and hits that include "Santa Fe," "Seize the Day," and "King of New York," this Muny premiere promises to make headlines.
This newsworthy cast includes: Jay Armstrong Johnson (Jack Kelly), Davis Gaines (Joseph Pulitzer), Tessa Grady (Katherine Plumber), Ta'Rea Campbell (Medda Larkin), Daniel Quadrino (Crutchie), Spencer Davis Milford (Davey) and Gabriel Cytron (Les). Joined by a talented ensemble that includes: Jordan Beall, Kyle Coffman, Beth Crandall, Dean Andre de Luna, Damon J. Gillespie, Gary Glasgow, Michael Hoey, Curtis Holland, Phillip Johnson-Richardson, Sean Harrison Jones, Alex Hayden Miller, Ben Nordstrom, Rich Pisarkiewicz, Jack Sippel, Gabi Stapula, Brendon Stimson, Clay Thomson, Daryl Tofa, Matthew Wiercinski and Thad Turner Wilson. The company will also be joined by The Muny kid and teen youth ensembles.
A headline worthy design team leads this production with direction and choreography by Chris Bailey, music direction by Michael Horsley, scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Leon Dobkowski, lighting design by John Lasiter, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Greg Emetaz, wig design by Leah J. Loukas, with production stage manager Matthew Lacey.
Newsies (August 7-13) is proudly sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
St. Louis Today (Judith Newmark): The big LED screen in back enhances these effects, thanks to video designer Greg Emetaz. He often displays huge columns of newsprint on "pages" that seem to be turned by an invisible reader. One image, shown only for a moment, jumps out: It looks like an actual photo of long-ago newsies. They look even younger than most of the juveniles onstage. These kids perform director-choreographer Chris Bailey's athletic dances with urgency and style. Tessa Grady shines as a young reporter, Katherine, with the looks of a Disney princess and spirit of Jo March.
Ladue News (Mark Bretz): While the rumbling, electric number Seize the Day near the end of Act I doesn't have the terpsichorean power or scope of the touring show, it's still a galvanizing moment in this inspirational work. Of course, writer Harvey Fierstein has taken dramatic license with historical figures who are included in the story, such as Pulitzer and then-New York governor Teddy Roosevelt, but the show is based on the actual Newsboys Strike of 1899.
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