Extra! Extra! Read All About It! The Newsies, based on the true story of the newspaper sellers strike of New York City, and inspired by the trolley worker’s strike. In 1899, the whole city got its news from an army of ragged orphans and runaways, called newsies, selling the newspapers of the large publishing houses of Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, and others. Like many of his friends, newsie Jack Kelly dreams of a better life, far from the hardship of the streets. But when Pulitzer and Hearst raised the distribution prices of the papers at the newsies’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for, and must decide between his dreams and his newfound responsibility.
“Newsies whirls away on a billowing score” – NJ Newsroom
“Newsies, the corker of a family musical” – Variety
It is July 1899, a group of orphaned and homeless newsboys are living in Lower Manhattan with their informal leader, seventeen-year-old Jack Kelly. At the circulation gate one morning, Jack meets a new newsboy’s, Davey and his nine-year-old brother, Les. Unlike the other newsies, the brothers have a home and a loving family, understanding this opportunity Jack offers to show them the ropes. One day, towards the end of their selling day, Jack, Davey, and Les are seen by the corrupt Warden Snyder, who runs The Refuge, a juvenile detention center, and he recognizes Jack as an escapee from his institution.
Mr. Joseph Pulitzer, the owner and magnate of the New York World publication, is displeased at the declining circulation and profits, and decides to increase the cost of the papers to the newsies. Outraged, Jack declares the newsies to be a union, and organizes a protest with all the newsies in town, but each neighborhood in turn, claims they will only join once Spot Conlon, leader of the Brooklyn newies, agrees to join the new union.
An enthusiastic young journalist, Katherine decides to cover the strike, and the protest appears to be headed for success but is soon cut short when Pulitzer’s goon squad and the police arrive to break it up by force. During the ensuing fight, Crutchie, a close friend of Jack, is apprehended, badly beaten, and taken to the Refuge, and a devastated Jack manages to escape but blames himself for the failure.
Pulitzer being powerful, declares a blackout on all strike news with all the other publications. Jack refuses to endanger any other boys, due to his guilt over Crutchie’s arrest, but Davey, Les, and Katherine, convince him that the fight is too important to stop. Meanwhile, at the World, an angry Pulitzer plots with Warden Snyder about how to stop Jack. Finally, Spot Conlon and the Brooklyn newsies declare their support for the strike, and Katherine unearths some of Jack’s drawings of the abuse he suffered while he was at the Refuge. She hatches a new idea: to print their own newspaper, using Jack’s drawings and an article by her, calling for every worker under 21 to strike alongside the newsies. All the other newsies band together and join Jack and Katherine in printing and distributing their own paper throughout the city. Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who fully supports the newsies’ cause, receives one of their papers and gives Pulitzer an ultimatum, forcing him to concede to Jack’s demands. The Refuge is closed down for good and Pulitzer offers Jack a job, at his publication, as a political cartoonist.
The original stage production of NEWSIES opened on Broadway in 2012 winning two Tony Awards, including Best Original Score. In October 2014, the North American tour commenced in New York, and ran for two years before ending in Texas after 784 performances in 65 cities across the US and Canada. It was announced that the musical is scheduled to open later in 2022 on London’s West End.
“Extra! Extra! Newsies is a hit!” – Village Voice
“High-energy dance numbers, an appealing cast and an uplifting story” – Hollywood Reporter
“Rousing songs by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, high-energy dance numbers, an appealing cast and an uplifting story make this reconceived version of the Christian Bale movie one of Disney Theatrical’s most entertaining new properties in years…You can call the show brashly formulaic, sentimental, or simplistic, but Newsies adheres to a time-honored Disney tradition of inspirational storytelling in the best possible sense. It works.”– The Hollywood Reporter
“The movie didn’t work. But director Jeff Calhoun, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, who wrote songs for the film, and book writer Harvey Fierstein deserve credit for what is a mostly banner makeover. … There’s no question that Jordan steps up to carry the show. Like a Page 1 headline, he announces himself as a powerhouse talent. Whenever he and the other newsies are on stage, the show flies. Too bad it sinks when the adults appear, an issue that’s still unresolved. Media mogul Pulitzer and vaudeville star Medda Larkin remain mere cardboard cutouts.”– The New York Daily News