Broadway Production of Newsies to Launch Tour in 2014

Newsies Broadway MusicalSince opening on Broadway over a year and a half ago, Disney’s Broadway musical version of its cult hit movie Newsies has earned many Tony Award nominations, earned back its initial investment, and become a family favorite on the Great White Way. Now, the celebrated production is making plans to hit the road for its North American tour.

The Newsies Broadway touring production is set to launch in October of 2014 in Schenectady, New York. In 2014 and 2015, the tour is scheduled to hit 25 cities, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Nashville, Toronto, Tucson, Washington D.C., and many places in between.

“The enthusiasm from North American audiences and theatres for a Newsies tour has been palpable,” stated Thomas Schumacher of Disney Theatrical Productions, “proving that the affection for this title is deeper and more widespread than even we imagined.”

To find out more about the tour stops and forthcoming announcements regarding dates, visit www.NewsiestheMusical.com.

Newsies Still Packs Them In, a Year After Jeremy Jordan Departed

Newsies Broadway Musical

Newsies Broadway Musical

Encouraged by the New York newsboy strike of 1899, Disney’s cathartic production of Newsies the Musical first premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in the fall of 2011, quickly moving on to the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway in the spring of 2012.  Whether it is because the show has been running on Broadway for an extensive period of time or the show wrestles without an attention reeling name like Jeremy Jordan, this Disney musical has not been living up to its full potential this year, compared to the last. (Jeremy Jordan left Newsies on Sept 4 2012 to pursue his dream of TV fame in the musical drama TV series Smash which aired on NBC and ended its 2nd, and final, season on May 26, 2013)

When Newsies first opened on Broadway in the March of 2012, they were averaging 100.8% in ticket sales and were grossing an average of $937,788.92, in comparison to January of 2013. Up until now they have been averaging 95.6% in ticket sales and are grossing an average of $847,072.23, with a 97% of theatre seats sold on average every night.  Looking at this data, there was not a colossal loss, possibly because in the beginnings of this production, people were so anxious about this musical being an adaptation to the popular 1992 film, starring Christian Bale. Compared to the movie, the musical is much longer and more care and precision have been placed into it.

Recasting has always been a difficult task to execute and even though the show has fared critically in monetary terms, Jeremy Jordan’s replacement, Corey Cott, has been fairly up to par. The emotional build up for every number is not nearly as tantamount to what Jeremy set the standards for, but Corey manages to pull off an astounding performance with a voice similar to Jeremy’s, making up for many of the weak moments to the female lead’s, Kara Lindsay’s, singing. Albeit the humorous, witty journalistic jokes and snappy, energetic attitude, Kara lacks this sort of resilience and strength, for the most part; coming off seemingly reserved and as if she is holding herself back, teetering along the lines of the melody and not quite hitting all of her notes. (Maybe this is due to the exhausting eight-shows-a-week schedule.)

Aside from the exciting dance numbers and character developments, there is exceptional use of the limited space on stage. The construction of the set, along with the essence of New York, is captured quite perfectly. A gate at the top of each moving staircase so that they can connect or detach from each other exacerbates the excitement of the chase-run scenes. The backdrop is tastefully modern, displaying shifting scenery or showing words from a typewriter whenever Kara’s character speaks what she is so furiously typing. Any seat in the house could clearly see what was going on, although being in the front few aisles definitely opens up your eyes to the deliberate sweat dripping and spit flying everywhere.

Even though Disney’s target market is for families of all ages, female fans of the Christian Bale movie of the same name, the audience demographic at this show seems to skew to an older, more mature crowd who may find solace in this hopeful musical because of the very pertinent modern day financial and social struggles.

With tattered corduroys and newsboy cap wearing orphan boys selling newspapers, desperate to make a living out on the cutthroat streets of New York, Newsies pulls at the heartstrings, bringing to mind the toil of making a living on Broadway, or simply the everyday strife that everybody trudges through. With no foul language or anything particularly scandalous to worry about, overall, this show is quite uplifting, entertaining, and sublime for families.

Newsies Offers Lottery For Free Tickets March 23-29

Newsies Broadway MusicalIn the lead up to its one-year anniversary on Broadway March 29, Newsies is celebrating by offering the tickets distributed in its pre-show lottery for free for an entire week. Newsies is offering these free tickets as a thank you to the musical’s ardent fan base.

The lottery tickets, which will be for a limited number of orchestra seats, will be free of charge starting with the lotto for the evening performance on March 23 through the evening performance on March 29. The Newsies lottery begins accepting entries two and a half hours prior to each performance, with the actual drawing taking place two hours before the performance. One entry is accepted per person, and one person can have up to two tickets. A valid ID must be presented. The lottery is held at the show’s theater, the Nederlander Theatre, located at 208 W. 41st Street.

Newsies will also be celebrating its one-year Broadway anniversary on TV with an appearance on Good Morning America on April 1. The Newsies cast will do a special performance of “Carrying the Banner” in which they will perform the song as they walk from the Nederlander Theatre to GMA’s studio, located in Times Square.

Autism-Friendly Broadway Performances Scheduled in 2013

TDF’s Autism Theater Initiative (ATI) has announced that it will be presenting autism-friendly performances of Broadway shows in the coming year.  These performances will be performed in a supportive environment for an audience made up of children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their friends and family.  The productions themselves may include slight adjustments, such as the reduction of jarring sounds or disturbing lighting effects (such as strobe lights).  The lobby of the theater will have designated quiet areas and activity areas, where autism experts will be on hand if any audience members feel the need to leave the theater during the performance.

“When we piloted this program we had a sense that there was a large audience of families in need of this service,” said Executive Director of TDF, Victoria Bailey.  “After the first performance it was clear that our presumption was true.  Watching families experience live theatre together for the first time in an environment that was safe and supportive is a truly emotional and gratifying experience.”

Four Broadway shows are currently scheduled to present autism-friendly performances in 2013:  Elf, the Musical on Saturday, January 5 at 2pm; Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark on Saturday, April 27 at 2pm; The Lion King and Newsies on Fall 2013 dates to be determined.  Tickets for the Elf performance are already on sale at www.tdf.org/elf.

More Broadway and Musical Theater Stars Join TV’s Smash

From the beginning, Smash, the NBC TV show about the creation of a Broadway musical, has employed many real-life Broadway stars. Christian Borle (a recent Tony Award winner for his role in Peter and the Starcatcher), Brian d’Arcy James (the man behind the big green costume in Broadway’s Shrek), Will Chase (Rent, Billy Elliot), and Meg Hilty (Wicked) are among the Broadway regulars that have populated the world of Smash, giving it a special air of authenticity for musical theater fans. The recent news that d’Arcy James and Chase won’t be series regular next year, though, made it seem that the show might be chipping away at the genuine Broadway babies.

Theater fans can relax — for now — though, since it appears that Smash is continuing its policy of hiring actual musical theater performers. One of the most recent cast additions in Jeremy Jordan, the break-out star of the 2011-2012 season for his roles in Bonnie & Clyde and Newsies. On Smash, Jordan is set to play a Brooklyn-born singer (perhaps borrowing some of the tough-guy, New York attitude that he is currently showing Broadway audiences in Newsies?).

And now there is news that Jennifer Hudson will be joining Smash. The former American Idol contestant wowed musical theater lovers in 2006 when she played Effie White in the film version of the Broadway hit Dreamgirls. Although Hudson has not actually starred in a Broadway production (her appearances on the Great White Way have been limited to a couple special benefit concerts), she will be playing a Broadway star named Veronica Moore in a multi-episode arc.

With any luck, Smash will be employing even more Broadway and musical theater talents in the future. Given that the TV show films in New York City, it creates the possibility for working Broadway performers to do both theater and television. Of course the extent to which they can do both may depend on how demanding their roles are and what the show’s shooting schedule is like. Jeremy Jordan, for instance, plans to continue playing his part in Newsies while also filming Smash. But Christian Borle, who has a starring role on Smash as a composer, will soon be departing Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher to begin filming.