And, when it opened at Paper Mill on September 25th, Newsies was hailed as a fresh, disarming surprise. The New York Times, among others, praised the “terrific, rousing songs and a sweet, funny, emotionally satisfying book,” calling it, “a stirring crowd-pleaser” and “a musical worth singing about.”
“In this company’s 17-year history, we have never seen a show so immediately and fervently embraced this early in its life,” said Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President, Disney Theatrical Productions. “It’s clear that the themes of Newsies– of the younger generation taking their place, of the underclass righting injustice – are extraordinarily timely. We could never have imagined our show would be called to Broadway in the way it has but we could not be prouder that it’s resonating so deeply.”
Casting will be announced at a later date.
Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.
Newsies is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.
Newsies has had an unexpected journey to Broadway. The stage adaptation had been developed for licensing to theatre groups and its Paper Mill run intended only as a pilot production for that market. The planned next step was to immediately release the title to the theatres and schools who had for many years made Newsies the single most requested title of all the Disney film musicals not yet adapted to the stage.
The stage version introduces several brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including ‘Carrying the Banner, ‘Seize the Day,’ ‘King of New York’ and ‘Santa Fe.’
The film Newsies has grown into a cult phenomenon with a generation having grown up on the movie’s driving, infectious score since its 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD. Its popularity had grown so dramatically, in fact, that the film’s 2002 DVD release was solely in response to demand from its ardent fans. The film featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).
ALAN MENKEN (Music). Stage musical scores include God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Patch Patch Patch; Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy; Little Shop of Horrors; The Dream on Royal Street; Kicks: The Showgirl Musical; Real Life Funnies; The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz; Beauty and the Beast; A Christmas Carol; Weird Romance; King David; Der Glöckner von Notre Dame; The Little Mermaid; Sister Act; Leap of Faith; and Aladdin. He has contributed songs to numerous musical revues including Personals, Diamonds, and It’s Better with a Band. His film song-scores and dramatic underscores include Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Life with Mikey, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range, Noel, Enchanted, and Tangled. Alan has contributed songs to Rocky V, Home Alone 2, and Captain America. In addition to winning eight Oscars (with 19 nominations), he has earned seven Golden Globes, ten GRAMMYs, and three Tony® nominations. His other achievements include Billboard’s #1 album (Pocahontas), a #1 single (“A Whole New World”), induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and honorary doctorates from New York University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
JACK FELDMAN (Lyrics). Broadway and Off Broadway: The Madwoman of Central Park West; Isn’t It Romantic, by Wendy Wasserstein; Beyond Therapy, by Christopher Durang; Coming Attractions, by Ted Tally; Miami (book by Ms. Wasserstein). Regional: Music for Mr. Durang and Albert Innaurato’s Idiots Karamazov at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Film: Oliver & Company; Tribute; Thumbelina; Newsies; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Used People; Life with Mikey; A Goofy Movie; The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride; and 102 Dalmatians. TV: Music and lyrics for the PBS Theatre in America production of Eve Merriam’s Out of Our Father’s House; The Magic Hat; The Little Mermaid (TV special); Polly; “Sesame Street”; “Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss”; and “Out of the Box.” Also many pop songs, including the Grammy Award–winning “Copacabana,” the top-10 hit “I Made It Through the Rain,” and songs and special material for Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Liza Minnelli, Lily Tomlin, Dionne Warwick, and the Muppets.
HARVEY FIERSTEIN (Book) has authored Torch Song Trilogy (Tony, Drama Desk, and Obie Awards), La Cage aux Folles (Tony and Drama Desk Awards), The Sissy Duckling (Humanitas Award), A Catered Affair (12 Drama Desk nominations), Safe Sex (Ace Award), Legs Diamond, Spookhouse, Flatbush Tosca, Common Ground, and more for stage and screen. His political editorials have been published in The New York Times, TV Guide, The Huffington Post, and broadcast on PBS’s In the Life. His children’s book, The Sissy Duckling, is now in its fourth printing. As an actor Mr. Fierstein is known worldwide for his performances in films like Mrs. Doubtfire and Independence Day; for his stage work in Hairspray (Tony Award), Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy (Tony Award); and television shows such as “How I Met Your Mother,” “American Family,” “Cheers” (Emmy nomination), “The Simpsons,” and “Nurse Jackie.”
JEFF CALHOUN (Director). Broadway: Bonnie & Clyde (director/choreographer), Grey Gardens (musical staging), Deaf West’s Big River (director/choreographer; 2004 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre), Brooklyn (producer/director/choreographer), Annie Get Your Gun (co-choreographer with Graciela Daniele; 1999 Tony Award, Best Revival), Grease (director/choreographer; 1994 Tony nomination, Best Choreography), Tommy Tune Tonite! (directing debut), The Will Rogers Follies (associate choreographer). West End/international: Disney’s High School Musical 1 & 2: On Stage! (director). Regional/national tour: Jane Austen’s Emma: A Musical Romantic Comedy (director/choreographer), The Old Globe; Bonnie & Clyde (director/musical staging; 2009 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Musical and Outstanding Director of a Musical), Asolo Rep Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse; Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5: The Musical (director/choreographer), first national tour; Deaf West’s Pippin (director/choreographer), Mark Taper Forum; Disney’s High School Musical: On Tour! (director), Disney Theatrical; The Civil War (director), Ford’s Theatre. Jeff is an Associate Artist at Ford’s Theatre.
CHRISTOPHER GATTELLI (Choreographer). Broadway: Godspell; South Pacific (Tony, Outer Critics Circle nominations); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Sunday in the Park with George; The Ritz; 13: The Musical; Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me; High Fidelity. West End: Sunday in the Park with George, South Pacific. Off Broadway: Altar Boyz (Lucille Lortel Award, Callaway Award, Drama Desk nomination); Bat Boy: The Musical (Lucille Lortel Award); tick, tick . . . BOOM!; 10 Million Miles; Adrift in Macao. Other favorites: Chess with Josh Groban, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” and Tony Awards 2000. As director: Silence! The Musical, currently playing at Theater 80 (Best Overall Musical, Fringe 2005); the world premiere of Jim Henson’s first Muppets musical, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and the world premiere of Radio Girl, both at Goodspeed Opera House; Departure Lounge at the Public for SPF; Chance and Chemistry: A Tribute to Frank Loesser with Sir Paul McCartney, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Art Garfunkel, and Audra McDonald; Hair with Jennifer Hudson for the Actors Fund.
TOBIN OST (Scenic Design). Broadway: Bonnie & Clyde (set and costume design); The Philanthropist (costume design) and Brooklyn: The Musical (costume design). Off Broadway: Nightingale (set design); Grace (set design); The Overwhelming; (costume Design); Zanna, Don’t! (set and costume co-design); Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver (costume design); and Fighting Words (set design). Regional: Bonnie & Clyde for La Jolla Playhouse and Asolo Repertory Theatre; Pippin for the Mark Taper Forum; The Civil War and Shenandoah for Ford’s Theatre; Nightingale for the Mark Taper Forum and Hartford Stage; Himself and Nora and Emma for the Old Globe.
JESS GOLDSTEIN (Costume Design). Selected Broadway credits include The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino; Jersey Boys (also for London, Australia, and Canada); Proof; Take Me Out; How I Learned to Drive; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Buried Child; Sight Unseen; Tintypes; The Apple Tree with Kristin Chenoweth; Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington. For Lincoln Center Theater: The Most Happy Fella; Henry IV with Kevin Kline; The Rivals, for which he received a 2005 Tony Award®; and Il Trittico for The Metropolitan Opera directed by Jack O’Brien. Jess is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and currently serves on their faculty as a Professor.
JEFF CROITER (Lighting Design). Broadway: The Pee-wee Herman Show; Next Fall; Kiki and Herb. Other NYC includes: Peter and the Starcatcher; Silence! The Musical; Meet Vera Stark; Side Effects; A Lie of the Mind; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Ordinary Days; Streamers; Family Guy Sings; Jerry Springer: The Opera; Rufus Wainwright’s Judy Garland Concert at Carnegie Hall; Love Child; Adrift in Macao; The Voysey Inheritance; The Internationalist; Jacques Brel; I Love You Because; Almost, Maine; The Dazzle; and Jennifer Muller/The Works.
SVEN ORTEL (Projection Design). Broadway: Deuce, Faith Healer, Jumpers, The Woman in White (projection realization and system design), The Little Mermaid, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Wonderland. West End: The Sea, Marguerite, As You Desire Me, Jumpers, Hitchcock Blonde (projection realization), The Woman in White. Elsewhere: A Disappearing Number (world tour); Measure for Measure (National Theatre, world tour); Tiefland (Zurich, Barcelona); Rebecca (Vienna); The Three Musketeers (Berlin, Stuttgart); Richard II (Old Vic, Recklinghausen); Swan Lake (San Francisco Ballet); TFANA’s Hamlet; Ring cycle under Valery Gergiev (St. Petersburg). Current and future projects: Rebecca in Switzerland, Germany, and on Broadway; Carrie, Off Broadway. www.svenortel.com
DANNY TROOB (Orchestrations). His career as a musician includes composing, orchestrating, and conducting. Some early credits: Pacific Overtures, The Baker’s Wife (dance music), Big River (music supervision; Drama Desk Award winner). Orchestrated the animated features Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas, for which he also conducted the score. Composed underscores to The Little Mermaid II and Lady and the Tramp II (Annie Award nomination). Recent film credits: Enchanted and Tangled. He orchestrated the smash hit revival of The Pajama Game with Harry Connick Jr. and recently orchestrated Dr. Zhivago in Australia. Other current Disney projects include the stage versions of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
MICHAEL KOSARIN (Music Supervisor, Vocal/Incidental Music Arrangements). Thirty years on Broadway as music director, arranger, and conductor: Nine (1982), Grand Hotel, Mayor, The Secret Garden, King David, Triumph of Love, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act. Also Hunchback of Notre Dame (Berlin), A Chorus Line (first international tour). Alan Menken’s music director for nearly 20 years; films include Captain America, Tangled, Enchanted, Hercules, Home on the Range, Shaggy Dog, Pocahontas. TV: Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for A Christmas Carol, nomination for The Music Man. Has concertized, arranged, and recorded with the Boston Pops, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Carly Simon, Barbara Cook, Jane Krakowski, Kristin Chenoweth, Eddie Fisher, and many others.
MARK HUMMEL (Dance Music Arrangements) most recently wrote dance music for Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway and Sister Act on Broadway. As music director for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Hummel composed three new songs for their 75th Celebration in 2007. He also has conducted and/or composed dance music for 14 other musicals on Broadway, including Jerry Zaks’ 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls, The Boy from Oz, and Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life. Hummel has received three Emmy Award nominations for his dance music on television. He enjoys creating music with Tommy Tune, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Barbara Cook, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Amra-Faye Wright, and Rufus Wainwright.
BOB TZUDIKER & NONI WHITE (Original Screenplay) sold their first feature pitch, Newsies, to Disney, and their first draft brought them to the attention of Disney Feature Animation. They share screenwriting credit on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Tarzan II and Fox's Anastasia. They also write live-action films, including Newsies and 102 Dalmatians. Bob and Noni also contributed to The Lion King and wrote numerous other projects for Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal, Dreamworks and independent producers. Their writing has contributed to over two billion dollars of box office worldwide. They were both actors when they met, cast as husband and wife in a play, and they now have a son, Ben, who is 12 years old.
DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS (Producer) a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its seven Broadway titles have been seen by over 103 million theatergoers, grossed over $7.4 billion and have cumulatively run a staggering 177 years. With 15 productions currently produced or licensed, a Disney musical is being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day. The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, opened in 1994. Itplayed a remarkable 13 year run on Broadway and has been produced in 28 countries worldwide. In November 1997, Disney opened The Lion King, which received six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical and continues in its 14th smash year, having welcomed over 60 million visitors worldwide. The Lion King can also currently be seen on tour across North America and in Las Vegas, London’s West End, Hamburg, Tokyo and Madrid. Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida opened on Broadway next, winning four 2000 Tony Awards, and spawning productions around the world. Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, opened in London in 2004 and has established itself as one of the biggest stage musical successes to emerge in recent years. The Tony Award-winning Broadway production opened in 2006 at Disney’s New Amsterdam Theatre, where it continues to delight audiences. Mary Poppins can also be seen on tour across North America and Australia. Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in 2006, is now an international hit, now in its third year in Germany. In January 2008, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway and was the #1-selling new musical of that year. Its success continues with an upcoming European debut in Holland. Other successful stage musical ventures have included King David in concert, the national tour of On The Record, several touring versions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, a critically-hailed Off-Broadway production of Peter and the Starcatcher at New York Theatre Workshop and, most recently, premiere stage adaptations of the films Aladdin at 5th Avenue Theatre and Newsies at Paper Mill Playhouse. In addition, DTP licenses stage performance rights to more than a dozen Disney musicals around the world through Music Theatre International.
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