2nd Live Performance- Laura Glucksman
On June 19th I saw the national touring company of Newsies at Arizona State University’s Gammage Theater. The musical was everything I expected it would be with a great plot, memorable music, and complex choreography.
Newsies is a great story based on historical events in New York City in the late 1800’s about newsboys loyally banding together to fight against being used by a rich and powerful employer. When Joseph Pulitzer raises the prices of his newspapers effectively lowering the newsboys’ wages, they go on strike to force Pulitzer to lower the price again. The theme of the musical is the importance of standing up for yourself, no matter who you are. It shows that anyone can take down a big power if they have enough persistence to endure the early consequences.
Jack Kelly is a fantastic main character because he is complex. He has good and bad attributes. He is a great leader for the newsboys because he is charismatic. He stole food and clothing for his friends. In his fight for the newsboys’ rights, he does not give up even when he is taken away by the police. He gave up his dream of going to Santa Fe in order to help his friends and to work for what he believed in. He falls in love with Katherine, who turns out to be Joseph Pulitzer’s daughter. All of the actors in this performance portray their roles realistically and are very professional.
The show has great music that will be stuck in the audience members’ heads for days after the performance. The song “Seize the Day” captures the theme of the show, and is a powerful takeaway message. The choreography is phenomenal. The performers perform flips and insane dance moves like spinning on a newspaper for several turns.
The set changes are fast and seamless. There are many different sets. They portray the atmosphere exceptionally well especially the stand where the newsboys buy their newspapers in Manhattan, the restaurant where the newsboys order only water, the printing press in Pulitzer’s “dungeon,” and the place where the majority of the newsboys live. The set includes structures the actors can climb on, so there was a level dynamic throughout the musical. The lighting sets the mood using strategically placed lights that make parts of the stage shine and leave other parts in the shadows. The addition of some flashing lights shows the audience where they should focus their attention. The set also has screens to show the current news headline. The costumes really show what people wore in that time period. The costumes of the newsboys are extremely plain. The costumes that are the most remarkable are the aristocratic women’s costumes. They are extravagant and in stark contrast to the poor newsies costumes. The sound was not very good because I was in the back of an extremely large theater. It was not the fault of the touring company. Gammage just has extremely bad acoustics.
I love the musical Newsies. The musical has great dancing and singing, relatable characters, and a wonderful message.