Newsies (musical)

Newsies The Musical is a musical based on the 1992 musical film Newsies, which in turn was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. The show has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein based on film's screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2012, where it played for more than 1,000 performances before touring.

The Musical
Original Broadway artwork
MusicAlan Menken
LyricsJack Feldman
BookHarvey Fierstein
Basis1992 film Newsies
Productions2011 Paper Mill Playhouse
2012 Broadway
2014 1st National tour
2016 'Newsies Live' film
AwardsTony Award for Best Original Score


Paper Mill Playhouse (2011)

Newsies The Musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey from September 25, 2011 through October 16.[1] The production was directed by Jeff Calhoun with choreography by Christopher Gattelli. This production was later transferred to Broadway with several changes in the music and actors.

Broadway (2012–2014)

The musical opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre for a limited engagement starting in previews on March 15, 2012, and officially on March 29, 2012.[2] On May 16, 2012, Disney announced that Newsies was an open-ended engagement.[3] The engagement was extended through August 19, 2012, after the first previews.[4]

The original cast of the Broadway production featured Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly and John Dossett as newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer. The cast also included Kara Lindsay as Katherine Plumber, Capathia Jenkins as Medda Larkin, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, and Lewis Grosso and Matthew Schechter sharing the role of Les.[5] The Broadway production cost about $5 million to stage.[6] Newsies recouped its initial investment of $5M in seven months, becoming the fastest of any Disney musical on Broadway to turn a profit.[7]

Producers announced on August 14, 2012, due to his commitments with NBC's Smash, leading man Jordan would exit the musical on September 4. It was also confirmed that newcomer Corey Cott (who became his alternate earlier in the month due to Jordan's production requirements for Smash) would be his replacement beginning September 5.[8]

The musical closed on August 24, 2014,[9] having played 1,004 performances.[10]

National tour (2014–2016)

The musical began a North American tour on October 11, 2014, commencing in Schenectady, NY. During the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 seasons, the tour was expected to play 25 cities, over 43 weeks.[11] It concluded its run on October 2, 2016 in Austin, TX[12] after 784 performances in 65 cities across the US and Canada.[13][14]


Following the end of the tour, a limited filmed theatrical release was announced for February 2017. This three-day release grossed $3.47 million. Disney then announced the musical production would be available digitally on May 23, 2017.[15] On August 24, 2017, Disney announced the filmed production of Newsies would be available on Netflix from September 10.[16]


Act I

In the early hours of the morning in 1899 New York City, newsboy Jack Kelly tells his friend with a disabled leg, Crutchie, of his dream to one day leave New York for Santa Fe ("Santa Fe" (Prologue)). Jack lives with his fellow "newsies," many of whom are orphaned and homeless. As the sun rises, the newsies awaken and prepare for another day on the job ("Carrying the Banner"). While buying their supply of papers to sell, Jack meets Davey and his little brother, Les. Unlike the rest of the newsies, Davey and Les have a home and a family. They started work as newsies because their father suffered an accident at work resulting in the termination of his employment. Seeing young Les as an opportunity to sell more papers, Jack offers to help the boys. Meanwhile, the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, increases the cost of the newspapers to the delivery boys, so as to outsell his competitors ("The Bottom Line").

Later, Jack, Davey, and Les are chased down by the corrupt Warden Snyder of The Refuge, a juvenile detention center. The boys find cover in a vaudeville-style theatre owned by Jack's friend Medda Larkin, whom he regularly paints backdrops for. Jack refuses to tell Davey why Snyder was after him. The boys then watch Medda perform ("That's Rich"). While at the show, Jack spots a young female reporter named Katherine Plumber. He attempts to flirt with her, but she brushes him off as he does a drawing of her. Jack laments his blossoming feelings for her as the show continues ("Don’t Come A-Knocking"/"I Never Planned on You"). The next morning, Jack and the newsies discover that the cost of newspapers has been raised to sixty cents per hundred. Outraged, Jack organizes a protest ("The World Will Know"). Katherine is inspired by Jack's leadership and artistic abilities, and sees the newsies' strike as an opportunity to be seen as a more serious journalist, something she struggles with because of society's view of women, and decides to cover the protest. (Watch What Happens) The next day, Jack fails to properly motivate the Newsies, as he isn't always the best with words, but Davey steps in and rallies the newsies for a full scale strike against the New York World ("Seize the Day"). The protest is cut short when the boys are engaged in confrontations with the police and strikebreakers. During the commotion, Crutchie is beaten, apprehended, and taken to the refuge. Jack, upset at the protest's failure and the capture of Crutchie, laments the situation and promises himself that he'll soon leave New York forever ("Santa Fe (reprise)").

Act II

The next morning, Katherine visits the sulking newsies in Jacobi's Deli and cheers them up by showing them that her article about the strike made the front page of the New York Sun. Thrilled, the newsies all rejoice at making the headline and imagine what it would be like to be famous ("King of New York"). Meanwhile, Crutchie writes a letter to Jack, reflecting his experience at the Refuge ("Letter from the Refuge"). Davey, Katherine, and Les later find Jack hiding out in the basement of Medda's theatre, painting a backdrop of Santa Fe. Davey and Katherine attempt to decide their next move, but Jack refuses to put the newsies in danger again. Davey reminds him that they'll have to take risks in order to get Crutchie back. Jack eventually complies ("Watch What Happens" (reprise)).

Back at the World, Pulitzer converses with Warden Snyder about Jack while Katherine listens in secret. Snyder reveals that Jack is actually an escaped criminal, originally detained for stealing food and clothing. Jack soon arrives and confronts Pulitzer. During the conversation, Pulitzer reveals that he is actually Katherine's father. Katherine, who was hiding in the room, tries to apologize to Jack for not telling him, but Jack brushes her off as he is led by Snyder into the cellar. Pulitzer offers Jack a compromise: if the strike is called off, he will be cleared of all charges and given enough money to leave for Santa Fe, but if not, he and the other newsies will be sent to the refuge ("The Bottom Line" (reprise)). Meanwhile, Spot Conlon, head of the newsies in Brooklyn, brings in his ranks in full support of Jack's protest ("Brooklyn's Here"). Jack gathers the newsies, and not wanting to put them in any more danger, reluctantly suggests they accept Pulitzer's offer. Davey and the newsies are shocked at Jack and turn their back on him. Jack later meets with Katherine once more and she tells him that despite her namesake, she was always on Jack's side. She also criticizes Jack for not being honest with her about ending up in the refuge for stealing. However, after seeing a drawing Jack made depicting the abuse conducted at the refuge, she realizes Jack stole the food and clothing for the other boys there. The two share a brief romantic moment and Katherine states that "I have something to believe in, now that I know you believed in me". Jack admits that the feeling is mutual, and they kiss ("Something to Believe In").

Jack and Katherine then join the newsies in printing their own paper; one that will determine the outcome of the strike ("Once and for All"). The newsies' paper is sent to Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who arrives in full support of the newsies' cause. Defeated, Pulitzer compromises with Jack once more. Jack proposes that Pulitzer buy back every paper the newsies fail to sell every day, thus making him seem more generous and making more boys want to sell papers for him. Pulitzer is reluctant at first, but agrees. Crutchie is freed, Snyder is arrested, the refuge is shut down, and the strike ends. Pulitzer offers Jack a job as a daily political cartoonist, which Jack initially declines. Jack prepares to say goodbye to Katherine, as he now plans to leave for Santa Fe, but Katherine says that wherever he goes she will go with him. The two share a kiss, and Jack elects to remain a newsboy and accept the cartoonist job ("Finale").


Character 2010 Workshop Paper Mill Playhouse Original Broadway Cast Original National Tour Cast Newsies Live (2017) Manila, Philippines (2017)
Jack Kelly Jay Armstrong Johnson Jeremy Jordan Dan DeLuca Jeremy Jordan Gian Magdangal
Joseph Pulitzer Shuler Hensley John Dossett Steve Blanchard Greg Dulcie
Katherine Plumber Meghann Fahy Kara Lindsay Stephanie Styles Kara Lindsay Dani Chopin
Davey Jacobs Jason Michael Snow Ben Fankhauser Jacob Kemp Ben Fankhauser Jef Flores
Medda Larkin Liz Larsen Helen Anker Capathia Jenkins Angela Grovey Aisha de Haas Pinky Marquez
Crutchie Andrew Keenan-Bolger Zachary Sayle Andrew Keenan Bolger Luis Marcelo
Les Jacobs Matthew Gumley R.J. Fattori,
Vincent Agnello
Lewis Grosso,
Matthew Schechter
Vincent Crocilla,
Anthony Rosenthal
Ethan Steiner Daniel Drilon,
Tory Cortez
Spot Conlon John Arthur Greene Tommy Bracco Jeff Heimbrock Tommy Bracco MC Dela Cruz
Race Robert Hager Ryan Breslin Ben Cook Alex Diaz
Romeo N/A Andy Richardson Nico DeJesus Stephen Viñas
Albert Jordan Nichols Garrett Hawe Sky Flaherty Ian Ocampo
Specs Jordan Samuels Ryan Steele Jordan Samuels Dougz Grantos
Finch Bobby List Aaron J. Albano Julian DeGuzman Iain Young Anton Posadas
Wiesel / Mr. Jacobi / Mayor Robert Creighton as Wiesel
Tom Alan Robbins as Mr. Jacobi
John E. Brady Michael Gorman John E. Brady as Wiesel / Mr. Jacobi,

Michael Gorman as mayor

Ariel Reonal
Oscar Delancey Ben Thompson Brendon Stimson Jon Hacker Anthony Norman Ken Ibasco
Morris Delancey Corey Mach Mike Faist Michael Ryan Devin Lewis Vyen Villanueva
Seitz Bill Nolte Mark Aldrich Jon Abella
Bunsen / Stage Manager Mark Price Nick Sullivan Bill Bateman Chesko Rodriguez
Hannah / Bowery Beauty N/A Laurie Veldheer Meredith Inglesby Melissa Bell
Snyder Marcus Neville Stuart Marland James Judy Franz Imperial
Nunzio / Theodore Roosevelt Tom Alan Robbins Kevin Carolan Raymund Concepcion

Broadway cast changes

  • Corey Cott replaced Jordan as Jack Kelly on September 5, 2012.[17]
  • Ron Raines temporarily replaced Dossett as Joseph Pulitzer from October 9, 2012 to December 16, 2012.[18]
  • Mike Faist was an understudy for Jack Kelly and played Jack from late November to early December 2012.
  • Andy Richardson understudied and later replaced Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie during the Broadway run.

Historical accuracy

Jack Kelly is the amalgamation of several historical leaders of the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, primarily Kid Blink (who is featured in the film but omitted from the musical), known as a charismatic speaker and a leader to the younger boys. Other real strikers included in the show are Racetrack Higgins, Mush Meyers, and Spot Conlon.[19] Although Katherine Plumber is fictional character, she is named for Pulitzer's daughter Katherine Ethel, who died of pneumonia in 1884 at the age of 2.[20] Many newsgirls participated in the strike as well, a fact largely ignored by both the film and the musical. However, new stage adaptations are rumored to include more "girlsie" roles written in, as well as many characters who have been written as gender-neutral in the script that is currently available for licencing.[21]

In the musical, the newspapers raise prices during July in 1899 after pressures to sell more papers after the war. However, the price for the papers was raised from 50 cents to 60 cents, not after, but during the Spanish American War. The cause of the strike was that they did not lower the high price after the war was over. This caused the newsies to revolt because they felt that it was more difficult to sell papers without the exciting news of the war, plus the additional pressures of the price changes. At the height of the strike, on July 24, 1899, the Newsboys Union held a massive rally at the New Irving Theatre, a vaudeville venue on the Bowery (reimagined in the musical as Medda Larkin's theatre). The rally was covered in extensive detail by The New York Sun (employer of the fictional Katherine Plumber), and featured speeches from the union's leaders.[22] It is rumored that for a period of time during the strike that Kid Blink secretly began working with Pulitzer and Hearst,[23] which resulted in a massive riot of strikers versus scabbers, similar to Jack's near-betrayal after Pulitzer promises him a full ride to Santa Fe. Unlike in the film, the musical follows the historical ending of the strike, where the World and the Journal agreed to buy back all unsold papers.[24] Historically, the price was kept at 60 cents per 100, but in the musical they strike a deal for 55 cents per 100 papers.

Differences from the 1992 film

In addition to the songs from the original movie, Newsies The Musical contains several new numbers such as 'Brooklyn's Here' and 'Something To Believe In'.[25][26] The songs "My Lovey Dovey Baby" and "High Times Hard Times" were removed and replaced by the singular song "That's Rich", which is performed by the same character, Medda Larkin, while the remaining songs were rewritten to fit the changes in the storyline between the film and the musical. Davey and Les's parents are mentioned only in conversation, omitting a scene from the movie where Jack has dinner in their tenement apartment. The lyrics to Santa Fe are changed to compensate for this change. The characters of Sarah Jacobs (Davey and Les's sister and Jack's original love interest) and the New York Sun reporter Brian Denton are replaced by the composite character Katherine Plumber, a reporter with whom Jack falls in love.[27][5] Also omitted was the solo for "Patrick's Mother". A scene with Jack, Davey, and Spot Conlon is absent, as is Spot's involvement in the fight between the newsies and scabbers; Spot doesn't appear until the rally.

A solo number for Crutchie titled “Letter from the Refuge” was added for national tour, replacing a scene from the movie where Jack visits Crutchie after he is captured by Snyder. “Letter From the Refuge” now appears in the current version of the show that is licensed to theatre companies.[28][29]

Musical numbers


The Paper Mill production drew critical acclaim.[30][31][32] According to The New York Times:

" 'Newsies' will open in time to qualify for the Tony Award in a season when the Tony for best musical is seen as up for grabs; 'Newsies' is already considered a likely contender for a nomination even before the show opens..."[6]

In his review of the Broadway production, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote:

"As choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, they keep coming at us in full-speed-ahead phalanxes, fortified by every step in a Broadway-by-the-numbers dance book... Mr. a natural star who has no trouble holding the stage, even without pirouettes... Mr. Feldman’s lyrics are spot-on, while the melody reminds us just how charming a composer Mr. Menken...can be."[33]


Newsies (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMay 15, 2012
LabelGhostlight Records

The Broadway cast recording was released on iTunes April 10, 2012, from Ghostlight Records, and the CD was released on May 15. Six songs were added for the stage adaptation, including three newly written for the Broadway production since the Paper Mill Playhouse debut: The Bottom Line, That's Rich and Something to Believe In (replacing Then I See You Again, also written for the stage adaptation).[34]

No.TitlePerformed byLength
1."Overture"Alan Menken1:12
2."Santa Fe (Prologue)"Jeremy Jordan, Andrew Keenan-Bolger3:05
3."Carrying the Banner"Newsies Company5:08
4."The Bottom Line"John Dossett, Mark Aldrich, Nick Sullivan, Laurie Veldheer2:16
5."That's Rich"Capathia Jenkins2:33
6."I Never Planned on You/Don't Come a-Knocking"Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Laurie Veldheer, Julie Foldesi1:40
7."The World Will Know"Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Lewis Grosso, Matthew Schechter, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Newsies Company4:09
8."Watch What Happens"Kara Lindsay3:06
9."Seize the Day"Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Lewis Grosso, Matthew Schechter, Newsies Company5:23
10."Santa Fe"Jeremy Jordan3:12
11."King of New York"Ben Fankhauser, Matthew Schechter, Lewis Grosso, Kara Lindsay, Ryan Breslin, Newsies Company4:09
12."Watch What Happens (reprise)"Jeremy Jordan, Ben Fankhauser, Kara Lindsay, Lewis Grosso1:53
13."The Bottom Line (reprise)"John Dossett, Mark Aldrich, John E. Brady0:58
14."Brooklyn's Here"Tommy Bracco, Newsies Company1:53
15."Something to Believe In"Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay3:31
16."Once and for All"Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser, Ryan Breslin, Newsies Company4:01
17."Finale"Jeremy Jordan, Newsies Company2:32

Filmed stage production

In July 2016, it was announced that Newsies would be filmed in Los Angeles with a limited national release in movie theaters from February 16–18, 2017. Due to high demand, a fourth showing was added for March 4, 2017. Some alumni from the Broadway production reprised their leading roles, notably Jeremy Jordan as Jack, Kara Lindsay as Katherine, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie and Tommy Bracco as Spot Conlon. Several ensemble tracks were added to the show to provide roles for swings.[35][36][37] A two-day encore presentation of the production was shown in theaters on August 5 and 9, 2017.[38]

On the 25th anniversary of the original film's theatrical release, April 10, 2017, it was announced the filmed stage production would be released for digital download on May 23, 2017.[39]

Honors and awards

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2012 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated [40]
Best Book of a Musical Harvey Fierstein Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Jeremy Jordan Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Jeff Calhoun Nominated
Best Choreography Christopher Gattelli Won
Best Original Score Alan Menken and Jack Feldman Won
Best Orchestrations Danny Troob Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Musical Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated [41]
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Jeremy Jordan Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Christopher Gattelli Won
Outstanding Music Alan Menken Won
Outstanding Lyrics Jack Feldman Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Danny Troob Nominated
2013 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated [42]
Young Artist Award Best Young Actor in Live Theater Lewis Grosso Nominated [43]


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  3. Healy, Patrick (May 16, 2012). "'Newsies' Run Is Now Open-Ended". The New York Times.
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  14. Seize the Day! NEWSIES National Tour Will Play Final Performance This Fall Mar. 7, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017
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  16. " 'Newsies' Will Be Available to Stream on Netflix", August 2017
  17. "Corey Cotts First Curtain Call". September 5, 2012.
  18. Gans, Andrew (September 28, 2012). "'Follies' Star Ron Raines Will Join Cast of Broadway's 'Newsies'". Playbill. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012.
  20. "Pulitzer Family"
  21. 1899
  25. Jones, Kenneth (September 21, 2010). "Harvey Fierstein Is Librettist for Newsies Musical, With Songs by Menken and Feldman". Playbill. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012.
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  28. Cox, Gordon."'Newsies' New Song Tour" Variety
  29. Newsies
  30. Rooney, David (September 27, 2011). "Newsboy Strike? Sing All About It". The New York Times.
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  35. Gioia, Michael (July 27, 2016). "Newsies Will Be Filmed With Jeremy Jordan and Kara Lindsay". Playbill. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  36. Viagas, Robert (August 10, 2016). "Disney Sets Date and Cast for Newsies Filming". Playbill. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  37. "Instagram photo by Andrew Keenan-Bolger • Sep 2, 2016 at 8:15pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
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  39. "Disney's NEWSIES on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
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  41. Rickwald, Bethany (June 3, 2012). "Tracie Bennett, Danny Burstein, James Corden, Audra McDonald Among Drama Desk Award Winners".
  42. Morris, Christopher (December 5, 2012). "Frank Ocean, Fun lead Grammy nominations". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  43. "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on April 2, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.

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