BWW Review: Disney's NEWSIES is the High-Flying Hit of the Summer!
"Now is the time to seize the day. Stare down the odds and seize the day. Minute by minute, that's how you win it. We will find a way, but let us seize the day." Filled with exciting songs, outstanding choreography, and superb acting, Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) presented one of my favourite musicals of all time: NEWSIES, in Vancouver this month. Disney's NEWSIES is currently playing at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park until August 17th.
Personally, this production is one of my favourites of 2019. Based on a Disney movie from 1992 starring Christian Bale and Robert Duvall, the story focuses on the strike that occurred in 1899 involving the newspaper delivery boys in New York City. This musical has it all: great music, remarkable dance numbers, and a love story that will make your heart flutter.
Three things that made this production one of the summer's best was its dance numbers choreographed by Julie Tomaino, costume design by Christina Sinosich, and overall contribution from the cast and ensemble. Tomaino's choreography stood out in several musical numbers with my 2 favourites being "King Of New York" and "Seize The Day." "King Of New York" stood out with its tap dance number that is a fan favourite among many musical theatre fans. This number starred the ensemble of NEWSIES and featured the talents of Julia Ullrich as Katherine. "Seize The Day" is the most well known number of the show and a musical theatre fan favourite. With its high-flying dance numbers incorporating flips, cartwheels, and jumps, this number will leave you mesmerized as there is never a dull moment on stage.
Costume design by Sinosich effectively captured the essence of New York during 1899. Flat caps, plaid shirts, boots, and vests filled the stage. What I really appreciated about the costuming was that each ensemble member had a unique outfit. I also really liked how Sinosich kept the classic blue rolled up long-sleeve shirt coupled with a grey vest for Jack Kelly. Sinosich was able to keep some of the recognizable costumes from the Broadway production while adding her own creativity as well.
As mentioned earlier, the ensemble really stood out for me in this production. Their enthusiasm and acting captured my attention during their scenes. Watching every single member sing and dance on stage was a true pleasure. Caleb Lagayan was the actor that captured my attention the most. His bright smile, solid pirouettes, and humour brought the energy to the show. In addition to the ensemble, I also have to applaud the members of the cast that played multiple rows in the show. Both James T. Walker and David Lees were present as different characters in multiple scenes and excellently portrayed each of them in a new way. Adam Charles also led the show as the leader of the Newsies: Jack Kelly. He really encompassed the role with his deep New-York accent and chemistry with characters such as Crutchie, Medda, and Katherine. He was perfect for the part and had an amazing voice that went beautifully with his stage presence.
NEWSIES was a very energetic production perfect for the entire family. Overall, there was not one part of this production that I did not like. Make sure to make your way to the Malkin Bowl before the end of the summer to check this show out! It will inspire you to chase after what you believe in!
NEWSIES is currently playing at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park until August 17th. Please check the schedule for show dates as this show alternates with the other production by TUTS: MAMMA MIA. Ticket prices start at $30 and are available at https://tuts.ca/show/newsies/ or by calling the box office at by calling 604-631-2877 (additional $5 per order for phone orders).
Photo credit: Lindsay Elliott, 2019