Everyday the newspaper is becoming more and more antiquated. It will surprise some people to know that the newspaper used to be how EVERYONE got their news.
Those same people will probably be shocked to learn that for more than half- a-century the main distributors of newspapers were boys called “newsboys” or “newsies.”
It’s this long-forgotten industry that is the basis for Disney’s Newsies the Musical. The show is adapted from the 1992 Disney film, Newsies, which starred Christian Bale.
The musical’s score was written by the great Alan Menken (who also wrote the music for the movie) with lyrics by Jack Feldman. The musical uses several songs from the flick as well as six new ones. The ultra-talented Harvey Fierstein wrote the book.
Newsies the Musical tickets were first collected on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre on March 29, 2012. The show received positive reviews and was a huge hit at the box office. The production turned a profit in just seven months. That’s the fastest any Disney musical has ever entered the black. It picked up eight Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. It won trophies for Best Choreography (Christopher Gattelli) and Best Original Score (Menken and Feldman). In 2014, Disney Theatrical Productions brings Newsies the Musical to London’s West End and launches a 43-week, 25-city U.S. tour.
Newsies is based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899. While the real strike, and the one portrayed in Newsies, helped increase wages for the newsboys, it’s doubtful that the youths involved in the real 1899 strike sung their emotions or that one of their leaders had a romantic relationship with the daughter of a publisher of a major New York newspaper.
Other historical references in the musical are the characters Joseph Pulitzer and President Theodore Roosevelt. The original Broadway cast starred Jeremy Jordan.
The young sensation picked up a Tony nomination for his portrayal of “Jack Kelly.” Jordan eventually left the production to be on the NBC musical-drama Smash.