Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review of Newsies at The Oriental Theatre (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Newsies. It was directed by Jeff Calhoun. The music was by Alan Menken and the lyrics were by Jack Feldman. The book was by Harvey Fierstein. It was about a teenager named Jack Kelly (Dan DeLuca) who is a newsboy, a newsie if you like, who fell in love with a young female reporter named Katherine (Stephanie Styles). And then he had the idea to start a strike because Joseph Pulitzer (Steve Blanchard) had elevated the price of papes. There is also Jack's best friend Crutchie (Zachary Sayle) who would do anything for him--and he does. There was also a brother team of Davey (Jacob Kemp) and Les (Vincent Crocilla) who start out being newbie newsies but by the end they have gone through a strike and are selling papes like crazy. This show is about friendship, love, and kid's rights to be able to be paid fairly for working as hard as an adult does. I really loved this show because the dance numbers were just breathtaking, it had a great female reporter, and it also had conflict between adults and kids that was very interesting.

I really liked the music hall singer, Medda Larkin (Angela Grovey) and I really loved her song, "That's Rich." I liked it because it was basically like a song from the time period when most of the other music was more modern and not really set in the time period. One of my favorite moments in that song was when she started talking to the audience about how ridiculous it is that they are not dying over her because she is so beautiful and talented. And I actually thought that she was. It showed how independent she was, how she could tell anyone that they are ridiculous even if she knows they are not trying to be funny. Her and Jack are basically like mother and son. They helped each other whenever they fell on hard times. If one of them needed a job they would gladly give it to each other if they could. And I thought it was very sweet that she played a motherly role in his life even though he was motherless.

Crutchie and Jack's relationship was basically like me with one of my best friends except we are not on as much hard times as they are. Jack got very sad when the thing happened to Crutchie. I can not tell you what it is; you'll just have to go see the show. I really liked Crutchie's song "Letter from the Refuge." One of my favorite parts was when he was writing down what it was like to be at the Refuge and he said "And the food is not that bad because we haven't had any food" and then he paused for a second and then he said, "Ha….Ha…" as he wrote it down. Jack is a very good friend to Crutchie but he has been more of a leader to everyone than a friend. I thought that Crutchie was sort of a mean name for him because it brought out a not very important aspect of him, which was that he had a crutch, and made it his name.

The song, "Watch What Happens," was sung by Katherine and I really loved it. It really showed the power in her to be a woman who is trying to say "I can be this" and standing up to people. But then it also showed how scared she was to do this, "Maybe everybody will still think I'm stupid and then they will think that women can never have this job and I will ruin things for women forever." It reminded me of what I am like when I'm writing a review. Well, it sort of did, but I didn't have to have long passages in it about how much I love this Newsie boy. Her anxieties about what people think of her and what people will think about her when this paper comes out are like when I think that no one will like my review. I think that the actress did a great job of playing the role non-cheesily. You could make this a big soppy ball of cheese. But she made Katherine very down-to-earth and very funny and now it is my dream role!

The song "King of New York," was a very jumpy song. And it had tap dancing. Tap dancing, people! I absolutely freaking love tap dancing. The Newsies were all tap dancing on top of tables while they got free water from Jacobi's (John E. Brady) Deli. I liked how the second that Jacobi left, they started tap dancing and he never noticed even though they were doing the splits in the air and jumping on the tables and tap dancing everywhere and probably damaging the tables. I found the song very catchy and I want to listen to it endlessly. And Katherine started out doing this tiny little dance and then they are all like, "Oh, Katherine, I expect better from you," and then she breaks out into this giant tap-dancing number and our jaws fall to the floor. I loved all of the Newsies but a few really stood out to me. I really liked Race (Ben Cook). I thought he was very funny and he was kind of the one who was the bully but also the protector. And his dancing was amazing. Romeo (Josh Assor) was very funny because he kept hitting on ladies and they would be like, "Back off, Romeo" and he would say, "How do you know my name?!" Henry (Demarius R. Cooper) was a very good character. He had a lot of charisma. Even though he didn't have the biggest part in the show, he looked like he was having the time of his life. I thought that Specs (Jordan Samuels) was a literally amazing dancer. He did back flips and giant jumps and it was just insane! Finch (Julian DeGuzman) was a very funny character and was great with acrobatics.

People who would like this show are people who like amazing acrobatic dancing, female reporters, and Kings of New York. This show has good female characters, good male characters, and toe touches that will blow your mind. I think people should definitely go see this show. I had so much fun at it and I am now a big Newsies fan.

Photos: Deen van Meer

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