As I sat watching Newsies on opening night at the Segerstrom Center, all I could think of was a young Christian Bale singing and dancing “Santa Fe.” I remember seeing that movie on VHS and loving it. I was a kid too and I thought Christian was cute but it was my younger sister who was really into the movie. Her love for musicals started early and in fact, she’s gone on to perform in musicals and become a professional singer herself. When I became a fan of the Newsies movie back in the day, I didn’t know or care that it didn’t make money for Disney. I just knew that I really enjoyed it.
Flash forward – “Newsies” the movie has developed a cult following and is now a musical with a Tony Award-winning score and choreography. When NEWSIES the musical opened in 2012, it was intended for a Broadway run of just 101 performances but eventually it ran for 1,005 performances with an attendance of more than 1 million!
NEWSIES is set in New York City at the turn of the century and is inspired by the real-life “Newsboy Strike of 1899.” In the Costa Mesa production that I watched, the lead, Jack Kelly (Christian Bale’s character in the movie) is played by the talented Joey Barreiro. The show features non-stop high energy dancing and yet the cast is able to project the heart of the show with its songs and dialogue. It hits you, it connects with you – it makes you reflect on how different things were for kids then. It makes you feel what it’s like to be passionate about something, what it’s like to fight for something you believe in.
Newsies will run through May 29 in Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased online at scfta.org, at the box office or by calling 714.556.2787
PHOTO CREDIT: The latter two photos from Newsies the Musical courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.