Stop the presses! It's been a long time since we've been this excited about a new Broadway musical for families. Featuring music by Academy Award winner Alan Menken and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, it's no surprise that , Disney's latest musical to hit the Great White Way, has the makings of a Broadway favorite. (The production, which played last year at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, received rave reviews and was a hit with viewers.) With a young, bright-eyed cast, catchy music and a New York City storyline, the show is sure to keep both parents and kids entertained from the first notes of the overture to the final curtain call. Here are five reasons why your family will want to catch the show before it ends its limited run on August 19. Then again, we wouldn't be surprised if Disney decides to extend its run again. (Want to purchase tickets? Check out Time Out's great deals on Broadway shows.)
Set in lower Manhattan in 1899, the musical tells the tale of Jack Kelly (played by the charismatic Jeremy Jordan), a teenager with his sights set on life beyond the New York City newspaper scene. When Jack and his fellow newsies learn of a rise in distribution prices, they must rally together to fight against big-name publishers like Pulitzer and Hearst.
While today's generation may not have to sell "papes" on the city's streets, kids watching are sure to be inspired by the newsboys' determination and dedication, especially when the cast sings lyrics like "The things we do today will be tomorrow's news" and "Nothing can break us, No one can make us give our rights away" in the first act. You'll also want to remind kids that the show's plot was inspired by a real strike in our city's history.
Even if your crew hasn't seen the 1992 Disney film, upbeat and lively songs like "Carrying the Banner," "The World Will Know," "Seize the Day" and "King of New York" feel familiar—the repetitve lyrics and catchy tunes almost guarantee that your family will be humming the songs long after you've left the theater. The show's official cast recording doesn't come out until April 10, but you can preorder it here.
Choreographer Christopher Gattelli (Godspell, South Pacific) does an impressive job with the spunky male-dominated cast. Keep an eye out for an energetic number during "Seize the Day" that's reminiscent of Disney's Mary Poppins (the boys even dance on newspapers, which they eventually toss into the audience). The second act opens with a tap routine that includes fancy footwork on the tops of chairs and tables. Young fans of So You Think You Can Dance may also recognize a number of the ensemble members—Thayne Jasperson, Evan Kasprzak, Jess LeProtto and Alex Wong all appeared on the popular Fox show.
The extremely likable Jeremy Jordan (Bonnie & Clyde) quickly wins over audiences as Jack—everyone roots for the character as he's named president of the Newsboy Union and rallies to get all working kids their rights. Children will also identify with Les, the youngest newsboy onstage. Played by the talented Lewis Grosso the night we saw the show, Les provides comical relief throughout. Don't be surprised if your kids are so enamored of the cast that they want to hang out by the stage door after the show to get their autographs.
Newsies plays at the Nederlander Theatre through Aug 19. Click here to buy tickets.