Extra! Extra! Here's a bit of good news, in case you happen to need some: A full recording of the exuberant 2012 Broadway musical Newsies is streaming for one night only on Friday, August 21. The broadcast will include new footage from cast members of the production.
The Newsies stream begins at 7pm EDT (midnight BST) at this page on Playbill, and for the benefit of West Coast viewers, it will remain viewable until 3am EDT. Although it can be watched for free, the stream is intended as a benefit: Donations are encouraged to support the vital efforts of the Actors Fund, which has provided more than $14 million in emergency help to people in the entertainment fields since the shutdown crisis began in March.
Adapted from the 1992 Disney live-action musical, Newsies focuses on young "pape" distributors in late-19th-century New York and their efforts to unionize and improve their working conditions. Their leader, Jack Kelly, is played by the charismatic Jeremy Jordan (who made history that Broadway season by originating a second lead role in the short-lived musical Bonnie & Clyde). The pro-union Jack—who, like Tom Collins in Rent a century later, dreams of leaving New York for Santa Fe, New Mexico—must wrestle against the villainous publishing mogul Joseph Pulitzer, who prizes profit above all else. Can his presses be stopped?
Filmed live at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in 2016, this Newsies recording reunites Jordan with fellow original Broadway cast members Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, who are joined here by Steve Blanchard, Aisha de Haas and Ethan Steiner. Jeff Calhoun is the director, abetted mightily by the athletic choreography of Christopher Gattelli, who won a Tony for his work (as did songwriters Alan Menken and Jack Feldman).
“Not since Wicked has there been a big-tent, family-friendly Broadway musical that gets so much so right,” wrote David Cote in his 2012 Time Out review. “The Alan Menken–Jack Feldman score pleasingly blends music-hall orchestral swing and power pop, and Harvey Fierstein’s book brims with sass and big-hearted sympathy for the underdog.”
This is not the first time that this recording of Newsies has been available: It debuted on Netflix in 2017 and is now among the offerings on the subscription streaming service Disney+ (where it rubs elbows with a show called Hamilton). But Playbill's one-night broadcast includes appearances by members of the cast as well as a brand-new video that they have recorded remotely for the occasion. More than that, if offers a chance to watch the show at the same time as other theater lovers across the country and—most important—to spare a few bucks for the Actors Fund if you have any bucks to spare. If you enjoy the show, throw it some Jack Kelly green.
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