Before we get started here, there’s a few things you should know. First of all, Newsies was my favorite movie growing up. In the 90’s when the Disney Channel had their free weekend preview, I recorded the movie on VHS. I proceeded to watch that VHS so many times that I wore out the tape and it broke. So for this reason, I’d argue that no one knows the film better than I do. While I thought I was alone in my love for the film during my youth, I found myself, post-college, settling down with a group of lifelong friends that all loved Newsies as much as I did. And when we originally heard that Disney was FINALLY making it into a Broadway play, we were ecstatic. About freaking time!
I was so stoked with the news of the New York premiere that I made a special trip to the Big Apple to see the play right before it ended its Broadway run last March. Before the play started, I bought an embarrassing amount of swag and was skipping around like a 5-year-old hopped up on Pixy Stix. By intermission however, I had some issues. The play is completely Jack-focused? What about David (Davey)? Why is he so awkward? Bill Pullman’s character was now a woman? And she’s the love interest? Wait… what? This really bothered me, and the new songs weren’t helping… There was absolutely no chemistry between Jack Kelly and Katherine (Bill Pullman’s character turned chick) either.
So when Newsies opened last night in Atlanta at the Fox Theater, I was a bit skeptical. The good news is, the traveling show addressed the chemistry issue (this made a huge difference), and while I’m still not a fan of the new songs (“Bottom Line” – Disney – the bottom line is you should have come up with a better song for Pulitzer), the chemistry between this Jack Kelly (Dan DeLuca) and Katherine (Stephanie Styles) was refreshingly convincing. They’re perfectly cast as the leads.
But let’s face it, if you’re going to see Newsies, you’re going for the amazing dance numbers and to sing along with “Seize the Day,” “Santa Fe” and “The World Will Know.” The show more than delivers on those.
Newsies Sneak Peek
At the end of the day, the musical isn’t a perfect representation of the movie. But if you don’t compare it to the film, it’s a solid play that stands strong on its own. Attractive, athletic guys in suspenders? I’m never going to say no to that. Never.
Newsies is at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta through Sunday (January 25), and then it heads to Orlando.
Photo Credit: Deen Van Meer