Thursday, June 16, 2016

reviews - NEWSIES - National Tour: ASU Gammage

the national tour cast of Newsies
Photo by Deen Van Meer
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through June.

"...Based on a real event that occurred in 1899, Newsies the Musical took the movie musical, re-shaped it, cut a few songs, added more, cut a couple of characters...Judging from the overwhelmingly loud roar of approval that filled the auditorium once the first note of the overture began, many of those cult followers have traveled and arrived with it...Christopher Gattelli’s high-energy and exhausting choreography that has the boys leaping, flipping, somersaulting, pirouetting and practically assaulting the audience with climactic military lines and formation, and always culminating with the defiant look of solidarity and clenched fists in the air. ..While Jack Feldman’s lyrics are expressive and often clever and Howard Menken’s music is undeniably tuneful, those newsie production pieces all start looking and sounding like echoes of each other.  ...Newsies finds its narrative strength in the second half more than the repetitive first.  Once characters are established and the strike is in place, the second half not only resolves the setup of the first but presents new character conflicts, a solid power ballad between Jack and Katherine, and a character identity reveal that produced an audible gasp of surprise from a packed opening night house, and presumably from the non-cult followers unfamiliar with plot twists. Despite its several issues and the fact that a full-blown musical was based around a relatively minor historical incident, the show remains by design a determined crowd-pleaser.  Like the screaming headline that blazed daily across the front page of a Pulitzer paper, the whole production is a musical equivalent.  By the end, you’ll automatically leap to your feet with wild applause at the conclusion of that final, fist-raising anthem of youthful solidarity ringing in your ears, even if later you look back and you’re not quite sure why. " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"...in 2011, Disney Theatricals launched the stage musical Newsies at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. Based on the unsuccessful 1992 movie of the same name, Newsies became a Broadway hit. The touring production of the show is in Tempe for a week long run and it is an exceptional, rousing and fun show....Set in 1899, the musical tells the story of a gang of mostly orphan newsboys who deliver the news to New York City. These "newsies" stage a protest when publisher Joseph Pulitzer raises the price they must pay for their supply of papers only to boost his own profits....For the book, four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein expanded on the screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. Fierstein's theatrical touches are prominent throughout the show and his sense of warmth and humor, as well as smart, realistic dialogue, turn the story into something very relevant and emotionally engaging. ...Director Jeff Calhoun has assembled a first rate cast for this tour. Barreiro’s charm, strength, warmth, good looks and swagger work very well for the leadership aspects of Jack. ...Barreiro’s pure and powerful voice excels on his many songs....As Katherine, Morgan Keene has the looks and pipes to carry off the young, fast-talking, feisty reporter who's trying to prove herself in a world of men. Like Barreiro she is also an excellent singer....The Tony winning choreography by Christopher Gattelli is rousing, almost non-stop, and is original yet in the style of the film, and the gifted cast delivers on what is required of them....The male ensemble excel in the exuberant dance sequences with a perfect combination of ballet and athletics, and they are individual chances to show off their abilities. ...the sets by Tobin Ost are fantastic. The three-tiered steel set of stairs that is almost constantly moving around the stage is perfectly paired with projections by Sven Ortel ...Costumes by Jess Goldstein are also first rate. ...Newsies is a rousing and engaging turn of the century story of David vs Goliath. The current touring production of this Tony winning show has an excellent and exuberant cast, a smart book, witty score, huge sets, perfect period costumes, energetic choreography, and clear direction. It is a crowd pleaser in the truest sense with some of the most infectious and thrilling dance numbers to grace a Broadway show in many years."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

 COMING SOON - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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