‘Newsies’ at Broadway Grand Rapids

Newsies Broadway Grand RapidsI was introduced to Disney’s Newsies, the movie, years ago, in a dance class that I took when I was younger. The song that my class was going to perform on stage was a jazz number called “Once And For All.” My little sister was also in a tap class at the same time and her class was performing “My Lovey-Dovey Baby.” We learned that both songs were from the Disney movie Newsies.

We decided to rent the movie and instantly fell in love with the story line and the characters.

Newsies takes place in New York City in 1899. It’s the story of the newspaper boys going on strike against newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer cut into the income the Newsies made by raising the price of the newspaper were bought and resold on the streets. So, the Newsies organized themselves and banned together against Pulitzer.

The main core of the Newsies team is Jack Kelly, Davey, Les, Crutchie, and Racetrack. Many other newspaper boys in the surrounding area of New York City join them. One of the more important areas to the strike was Brooklyn and their unofficial leader, Spot Conlon.

The play is incredible. The story does change a little from the movie to the play and those that know the story well will notice the differences. But, it is every bit as amazing as the movie

Newsies Broadway Grand RapidsThe set is a sight to behold. There are huge tower-like structures that move around for the cast to play on and the towers constantly change with each new song.

While the sight is eye-pleasing, it’s the talent of the cast that truly sets the stage. The choreography is tight, on point, and fun to watch. There is one number where they are actually dancing on newspapers!

Dan DeLuca plays “Jack Kelly”, the leader of the strike and the story’s main character. “Davey” is played by Jacob Kemp. Vincent Crocilla and Jonathan Fenton alternate in the role as “Les.” I’ve heard that the role of Les changes in each destination. “Crutche” is played by Zachary Sayle. Benjamin Cook takes on the role of “Racetrack” and “Spot Conlon” is played by Jeff Heimbroc.

My favorite numbers are “King of New York,” “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the day,” “The World Will Know,” and “Santa Fe.”

The set towers in the background during the performance at Devos Performance Hall
The set towers in the background during the performance at Devos Performance Hall

Speaking of Santa Fe, I have also spent some time in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was gorgeous and I love to go back. I know why Jack Kelly’s dream is to make it to Santa Fe.

On top of seeing the movie and the the play at Broadway Grand Rapids, I also saw Newsies in Chicago. At that time in the tour, they were not scheduled to come to Grand Rapids. I knew I had to see the play, and since I missed it in New York, I decided to see it in Chicago. Fortunately it came to Grand Rapids for a quick stint so I could indulge in it one more time!

Seeing it in Grand Rapids was no second fiddle. The performances shine through no matter the venue.

If you have the opportunity to see Disney’s Newsies on Broadway, take the time to see it. With the play already exiting Grand Rapids after a very limited engagement, check out the movie. They’re both brilliant and you won’t be disappointed!

Katie works in the film industry as a camera operator and has worked on films like ‘All You Can Dream’, ‘Set Up’ and a TV show called ‘American Fallen Soldier.’ She loves helping WKTV with the Citizen Journalism team and working as a tech at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Katie loves working in the film industry and loves watching movies just as much!