Entertainment :: Music

Newsies - Original Broadway Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Thursday May 17, 2012
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It took twenty years for "Newsies" to be adapted for the stage, but it has been worth the wait. The 1992 Disney feature starring Christian Bale and Robert Duvall was initially a flop, but musical-theater fans would not let the tale of the young newspaper sellers and their struggle against exploitation by the wealthy go away, and it became a cult favorite, mostly due to the endearment with the young Bale, director Kenny Ortega’s lively choreography, and the hit production numbers "Seize The Day," "Santa Fe" and "King of New York."

Fast forward to 2011, and "Newsies" received its stage premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse, transferring to Broadway earlier this year. Jeremy Jordan has grabbed the torch of playing 17-year old Jack Kelly (the role played by Bale in the film), John Dossett has taken over for Duvall as Joseph Pulitzer, and the conflict between the young, working class newsies and the rich businessmen is proving to be money in the bank for Disney Theatricals, responsible for bringing the production to Broadway. Jordan’s unique voice is much more suited for the youthful paperboy, who becomes the unwilling leader of the uprising of the young men and boys who bring the daily news to the masses, than it was in the unsuccessful "Bonnie & Clyde."

The score for the show contains most of the original songs featured in the film, plus composer Alan Menken ("Little Shop of Horrors," Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast" and the recently closed "Leap of Faith") has reconnected with lyricist Jack Feldman to write several new songs for the supporting characters. They include a song of greed for Pulitzer and his cronies ("The Bottom Line"), and a torch song for club owner Medda Larkin (originally played in the movie by Ann-Margret), delivered by the talented Capathia Jenkins ("That’s Rich").

With a strengthened book by Harvey Fierstein, "Newsies" looks to become a Broadway mainstay, particularly after it should win a number of the eight Tony™ nominations it has received. The recording, primarily on the strength of the songs that have kept the title in the public ear for the past twenty years ("Seize the Day" et al) gives a faithful representation as to why Menken and Feldman’s music has enjoyed its prolonged success.

"Newsies" Original Cast Recording
CD / Digital formats
Ghostlight Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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