Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 228 Pittsburgh CLO-Disney’s Newsies-Take a Stand

Jack (Joey Barreiro) and Crutchie (Daniel Quadrino) "Santa Fe" 
I was awestruck with the strength of the energetic male focused dancing  which augmented the shows  powerful theme for social change when I saw Disney's Newsies  in 2013 on Broadway.  Pittsburgh’s CLO production had the same energy and forceful movement that I  remembered. 

One  of my blog inspiration books, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Disney Golden Book” reminds us that,  “you [got to] tap into your inner warrior to do what’s right”*.  That is just what Newsies is all about-standing against power to right a wrong.

Newsies   is based on the real life story of Kid Blink (Jack Kelly in the musical)  who in 1899, lead  a number of  NYC newsboys to take a stand against the publisher  moguls  Pulitzer and Hearst by refusing to distribute their papers after they increased the newsboy’s price  per  100 bundle from 50 to 60 cents. In 1899, the delivery boys were also not reimbursed for the unsold papers. This  group  of newspaper hawkers led the change in newspaper distribution and paved the way for child labor laws. 

 The musical opened with  Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro ) emotionally singing "Santa Fe" . He tells his  friend, Crutchie  (Daniel Quadrino), of his dream to leave the tough NYC street life of a newsboy for Santa Fe.  Then a strong vocal and dancing CLO cast of young men playing the orphaned and homeless boys, prepare for another day of work in an explosive dance number, “Carrying the Banner”.

Jack soon meets  and agrees to teach his sales skills to  Davey (Stephen  Michael Langton) and his little brother, Les (William Sendera)  who join the newsboys to support their family when  their father  lost his job  after a work accident.  Together  they lead Newsies in rebellion against the powerful publishers in "The World Will Know".

Katherine (Beth Stafford Lard) with Newsies
Like most musicals there is a love connection between Jack and  an aspiring reporter Katherine (Beth Stafford Laird ) who initially  takes on the boys' cause for her personal career aspirations but latter falls in love with Jack.  She  sings about the importance of covering the strike in the song “Watch What Happens”  singing, “Speak up. Take a stand and when there is someone to write about it, that’s how things get better”.  

Seize the Day”  almost brought the audience to their feet.  It began with the pure voice of Stephen Michael Langton as Davey, who rallies together the boys to fight against the paper distribution price increase.  He sings, “stand down the odds and seize the day..courage is when we face our fears-tell those in power, safe in their tower –we will not obey..” This song crescendos with a fantastic tap dance number that had the  strength of ballet with its jumps and turns, and the rhythm of tap.

powerful dancing 

The powerhouse voices and dancing  in this CLO production kept up in the second Act.   Newsies  captures the fight of a  “David verses Goliath story" through powerful dance. We enjoy the entertainment as we all root for the Newsies as they take a stand!

(Pittsburgh’s CLO production of  Disney’s Newsies  runs from  Tuesday, July 18 to Sunday, July 23, 2017 at the Benedum Center)

Spiritual Refection
“Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Other sources
*Little Golden Book “Disney’s Mulan