Newsies: The Broadway Musical (2017)

Newsies: The Broadway Musical, Filmed live on stage at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and adapted into a film in 2017, is an absolute triumph that brings the vibrant energy and infectious spirit of the stage production right into our homes. Directed by Jeff Calhoun, this cinematic rendition captures the essence of the iconic Tony Award-winning musical and delivers a mesmerizing experience that will leave audiences exhilarated and inspired.

Poster from the musical

The film tells the story of the newsboy strike in New York City in 1899, when a group of young newspaper sellers takes a stand against the powerful publishing titans. The plot, based on real-life events, is both historically significant and profoundly moving, highlighting themes of unity, resilience, and the power of the human spirit.

While “Newsies” is a fictionalised account of the events of the strike, it presents several important lessons for workers and unions. Here are some simple lessons derived from the musical:

Unity and Solidarity: One of the primary lessons from “Newsies” is the power of unity and solidarity among workers. The newsboys in the musical come from diverse backgrounds and face different challenges, but they unite to fight for their rights. By standing together, they create a stronger collective voice and increase their chances of success.

Courage and Resilience: “Newsies” emphasizes the importance of courage and resilience in the face of adversity. The newsboys face intimidation, violence, and the threat of losing their livelihoods, but they refuse to back down. The musical highlights the significance of staying strong and determined even when the odds are against you.

Organizing and Collective Bargaining: The musical showcases the value of organizing and collective bargaining for workers. The newsboys form a union and use their collective power to negotiate with the newspaper publishers. Through their organized efforts, they are able to present a unified front and demand fair treatment.

Social Justice and Fair Wages: “Newsies” addresses the issue of social justice and fair wages. The newsboys highlight the injustice of being exploited for their labour while earning meagre wages. The musical emphasizes the need for fair compensation and advocates for workers’ rights to be treated justly.

Overcoming Generational Divides: Another lesson from “Newsies” is the ability to bridge generational divides. The older characters in the musical, such as Medda Larkin and Jack’s friend Davey, join forces with the younger newsboys. This collaboration shows that workers from different generations can work together towards a common cause and achieve positive change.

The Power of the Media: “Newsies” also illustrates the influence of the media in shaping public opinion. The newsboys strategically use the power of the press to raise awareness about their struggle and gain public support. This highlights the importance of media and public relations in labour movements.

Standing up for What’s Right: Ultimately, “Newsies” teaches the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of powerful opposition. The newsboys refuse to accept the unjust working conditions and fight for their dignity and rights. The musical serves as a reminder that collective action can bring about positive change.

These are some of the simple lessons that can be derived from the musical “Newsies.” The story of the newsboys’ strike continues to inspire workers and unions, reminding them of the power they hold when they come together and fight for a common cause.

One of the greatest strengths of Newsies: The Broadway Musical lies in its incredibly talented cast. Jeremy Jordan shines in the leading role of Jack Kelly, capturing his charisma, determination, and vulnerability with precision. His powerhouse vocals and magnetic stage presence anchor the film, making it difficult to take your eyes off him. The chemistry between the entire ensemble is palpable, creating a genuine camaraderie that brings the story to life.
The film’s choreography, originally created by Christopher Gattelli for the stage production, is nothing short of breath-taking. The dance numbers are executed flawlessly, seamlessly blending athleticism and grace. From the exhilarating “Seize the Day” to the emotionally charged “Santa Fe,” every dance sequence is a feast for the eyes, displaying the incredible talent and dedication of the performers.

Alan Menken’s music and Jack Feldman’s lyrics are a match made in musical theatre heaven. The score is filled with memorable songs that range from rousing anthems to poignant ballads. Classics like “Carrying the Banner,” “The World Will Know,” and “King of New York” are brought to life with passion and gusto, leaving viewers humming the tunes long after the film ends.

The production design is another standout element of the film. The sets authentically capture the gritty streets of turn-of-the-century New York City, while the costumes evoke the period’s style and social hierarchy. The attention to detail creates a visually immersive experience, transporting the audience back in time.

While Newsies: The Broadway Musical is an adrenaline-fueled spectacle, it also manages to touch on deeper issues. It explores the plight of child laborers, the importance of workers’ rights, and the indomitable spirit of those who refuse to be silenced. These themes, combined with the stellar performances and production values, make for a film that is not only entertaining but also thought-provoking.

If there is any drawback to the film, it is that some of the intimacy and immediacy of the live stage production may be lost in the transition to the screen. However, the filmmakers compensate for this by utilizing close-ups and dynamic camerawork that provide a more intimate connection to the characters.

Newsies: The Broadway Musical is an electrifying and uplifting film that captures the magic of live theatre. It is a celebration of passion, perseverance, and the strength of community.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

Poster attribution: Original Broadway artwork by…/2012/03/newsies-poster.jpg , Fair use,


1 Comment »

  1. I love Newsies- filled with mind-blowing dance, exciting songs, characters to love, and an inspiring story


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