Music by Alan Menken.
Lyrics by Jack Feldman.
Book by Harvey Fierstein.
Choreographed by Christoper Gattelli.
Directed by Jeff Calhoun.
At the Palace Theatre, Chicago.
Manic, manly dancing catapults the National Tour of Newies jumps into our hearts.
Newsies in the 2016 National Tour, now playing at the Palace Theatre, is a stronger production than the 2014 tour that I witnessed. It seems tighter and it features a terrific lead in Joey Barreiro as the newsboys leader Jack Kelly.
This stage musical is far superior to the film, as this show packs a wallop directly into our hearts. We empathize and love these determined boys as they struggle for dignity and a fair deal from the newspaper publishers (especially Joseph Pulitzer). Newsies is based on the 1899 strike in NYC when the orphan/runaways who sell newspapers on the street strike to protest an increase to their wholesale price for newspapers.
We meet the group’s leader, Jack Kelly (the charismatic Joey Barreiro) and his pal Crutchie (Andy Richardson), the Newsie with a deformed leg. Kelly dreams of New Mexico while Crutchie dreams of two functioning legs. Kelly is a natural-born leader who is the acknowledges head of the Manhattan Newsies.
With several fantastic dance numbers that contain swift dances with flips, twirls, breathtaking arabesques, the 16 boys possess expert ballet, tap, acrobatic and gymnastic skills that never fail to exhilarate audiences in showstoppers like “The Bottom Line,” “Carry the Banner,” “King of New York” and “Seize the Day.”
The story pits the Newsies against the publishers as the poor versus the rich in a classic struggle for survival. Alan Menken has penned a rousing score befitting the exciting choreography deftly designed by Christopher Gattelli (a Tony Winner for his work here) and superbly danced by the tireless cast of 16 talents who are fine actors and singers to boot!
While I was enamored by the sheer energy and fun tone of Newsies, I was pleased that Barreiro was a fine singer and a terrific actor besides a wonderful dancer. It is fun to see the boys being featured in a musical after so many recent shows feature the girls!
Newsies delivers enough sheer energy with an adventurous story that depicts a worthy moral. This exciting show is filled with heart, empathetic characters as the boys win a round in quest of their place in the scheme of life in turn-of-the-Century New York. Newsies is a fine show filled with enough joy and energy to light up our holidays. It is much better than the film. Hurry, you have only until August 7th to see this fun show.
At the Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000, www.broadwayinchicago.com tickets $40 – $100, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through August 7, 2016.