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Review: Disney’s Newsies – The Broadway Musical

You might not have heard of it in musical form, but Newsies featured on the big screen as a movie back in 1992. Starring Christian Bale, it wasn’t all that of a success. However, its musical incarnation shows just how brilliant this story truly is.

This production, brought to cinemas following a recording of its North American tour, is based on real events in New York in 1899. Newsies as they’re known pay a corporate publisher 50 cents to sell their newspapers on the streets. But, when the owner of the printing works raises prices, the young workforce form a union and down their papers. Strike!

Jeremy Jordan’s charming and exciting personality makes him the idea man to lead the charge as Jack Kelly. Vocally blessed and with an overpowering sense of want to make change, you’re regularly left with the desire to down your popcorn and join the fight. His rendition of the now somewhat anthem to this musical Santa Fe the highlight of the night.

Disney legend Alan Menken’s fresh score bounces along so perfectly that it almost becomes the friend you’ve known for years. Such is the brilliance of this writing, you’d be forgiven in thinking you’ve heard these songs all before. In fact, we have — but that never takes away from this new level of Disney magic Alan sounds. Call it Disney for the teens, or Disney 2.0. Whatever it might be, it feels excitingly new and perfectly poised to wrap around this story.

Showstopper The World Will Know might steal all our hearts by curtain call, but Broadway leading lady Kara Lindsay comes close. She’s the comedic flirt that’s feisty in her delivery, never mind the fabulous dresses she gets to don.

Harvey Fierstein, is, once again a genius. We’d buy anything he’s selling, and Newsies is no different. It’s the complex mixture of failure and success that marks his work with a heart. It’s a heart that does almost break a points, and that’s only describing our own. However, Christopher Gattelli’s choreography is the unexpected star of this creative team. His work mixtures high-tempo routines with flips and backflips in every beat you hear. But when you’ve a body like most of these boys do, would you be the one to tell them less is more?

When it comes to moving a musical from the stage to screen, there’s lots to get wrong. Theatre is crafted for your native eye and when it’s transported through a camera lens, it can get a little lost. Thankfully, clever additional camera shots and fast cuts mean you’re left feeling like you could possibly be part of this live Disney story. And with a star like Jeremy Jordan at the forefront of its fight, we’d buy a ticket again and again!

Newsies arrives in UK cinemas on 19 February.

GT Disney’s Newsies – The Broadway Musical — 4/5


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