I wasn’t planning to write a whole blog post about Newsies, but I just had too many feels to fit into my month-end review. If you’ve never heard of Newsies, here’s the rundown: in 1899, a group of newsboys in New York went on strike when the price of “papes” was raised. In 1992 Disney made a less-than-popular movie based on that strike; in 2012 the musical Newsies opened on Broadway, running for more than two years and receiving a couple of Tony Awards; and last year several of the Broadway cast members + the tour cast reprised their roles to give us a fantastic recording of the musical that’s in theaters three days only! I’d had the soundtrack memorized for years, so I was only too happy to drag my mom, brother, and friend to see the movie event last weekend. So, here goes: my top seven reasons why you should fall in love with Newsies too. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the movie, this is just about the musical!)
1. Ben Fankhauser singing that line.
If you’re a “fansie,” you know the one. If you’re not, let me educate you: go and look it up, the poor GUY’S head is spinning! The line from Watch What Happens (Reprise) went kind of viral when Ben, who plays Davey, revealed that he uses that line to warm up pre-show and also to generally annoy everyone in the vicinity. It’s so glorious that someone actually made a six-hour Youtube video with Ben singing that line 8,000 times in a row. Yes, you read that right–eight thousand times. You can find the video here. Play it at my funeral, please.
2. Jeremy Jordan’s emotional investment in Jack Kelly.
I’d been listening to the original Broadway soundtrack of Newsies for a looong time, and it was amazing how much emotion Jeremy conveyed in the lead role just through singing (especially Santa Fe), but seeing his facial expressions and body language and everything last weekend took it to a whole new level. It’s intense; it’s the real deal. Despite the fact that he’s a little old (Jeremy is now thirty-two to his character Jack’s seventeen), and that one of my friends thinks he looks like a llama (um, still not sure where that one came from, but it’s a legit thing that was said. Rude), he’s a stellar Jack Kelly in my humble opinion.
3. That moment in Once and for All when the key changes and the set moves forward and UGH.
ALL THE GOOSEBUMPS. I don’t really have anything else to say, except–it’s AHMAZING (and, incidentally, an integral part of my current WIP’s playlist). Once and for All is a great song in general because it starts out so nice and calm, and then in the middle it majorly amps up and you want to go leap buildings in a single bound, and by the end you’re just sobbing in the fetal position because the whole thing is TOO AWESOME. Or maybe that’s just me? Okay. Listen here.
4. THE DANCING.
Again, I have no words. None. Count them: zero. It’s SO technical and polished and flawless! I did ballet, tap, and jazz for seven years growing up and swing for a couple more years after that, and all of the dance numbers in Newsies–tap dancing! A dozen pirouettes in a row! Acro elements and the newspaper dance and the iconic Newsies leap (which Lin Manuel-Miranda himself once tweeted that he tried, and failed, to master)!–just make my little former-dancer heart SO so happy.
5. The overarching themes of hope, perseverance, and loyalty.
“Poor little kids versus rich greedy sourpusses,” and guess who wins? Everyone loves a good underdog story, and Newsies is a great one–a group of scrappy kids who are just trying to keep their heads above water, and who end up triumphing over the big bad Pulitzer. No “life lessons in economics” for them!
6. Letter from the Refuge + Crutchie in general.
This song was written for the tour cast; it wasn’t part of the original Broadway show. I’m so glad they included it in the movie, and I lowkey start singing it every time someone asks me how I am. (I feel like Zachary Sayle used to think about his time left behind at the rest stop to get him in the right mindset for Letter from the Refuge. Ah, good times.) Listen here with Andrew Keenan-Bolger–bring tissues. While we’re at it, let’s just appreciate Crutchie for a minute: “I got a nickel!” “I’ll be sleepin’ on the streets–in a worse neighborhood!” Also, do you ever just sit down and cry very hard because of how much Jack needs Crutchie? Because I do. Okay, moving on.
7. Kara Lindsay and Katherine Pulitzer are as close to flawless human beings as one can get.
Kara’s singing voice and her laugh and her overall cute little self–heart. eyes. Also, let’s talk about Katherine Pulitzer–not only is she someone who doesn’t give up until she gets what she wants (in this case, to be taken seriously as a writer, which incidentally is one of my goals as well), but she’s sassy (“Cheeky boy gets nothing for his troubles”) and #relatable. I mean, think about it:
Plus, the song Watch What Happens (see below) is me literally every day. #writerprobs
Write what you know, so they say, all I know is I don’t know what to write, or the right way to write it… Poor little kids versus rich greedy sourpusses, ha! It’s a cinch! It could practically write itself. And let’s pray it does, cause as I may have mentioned I have no clue what I’m doing!… Give me some time, I’ll be twice as good as that six months from never.
This is one of the first musicals I ever fell in love with, and I could go on, but I’ll cap it here. Shameless self-promo: give my Newsies Pinterest board a follow (all pictures and gif’s in this post are from Pinterest), and we can fangirl about Ben Cook/Race and Tommy Bracco/Spot Conlon and the rest of the cast and characters to our hearts’ content!
Are you a musical theater junkie like me? Do you love Newsies too? If you had never heard of it before this post, are you going to go listen to the soundtrack right after you leave a comment? (Hint: the answer is yes.)