Read All About “Newsies” at Broward Center
By Skip Sheffield
Newspapers are fading as an American institution, but the memories linger.
Disney’s “Newsies,” running through Nov. 29 at Broward Center for the Arts, is set during newspapers’ peak of popularity in 1899. It started as a movie in 1992 and was turned into an acclaimed Broadway musical in 2012.
The Broadway Across America show playing Fort Lauderdale is a song and dance spectacular with one of the most spectacular sets I’ve even seen at Broward Center. The set is a kind of giant three-story Erector set, with three components that revolve.
The story of “Newsies” by Harvey Fierstein is its least important component. Fierstein adapted the 1992 movie for the stage, with additional music by Alan Menkin and Jack Feldman. It was inspired by the real-life newsboy strike of 1899 in New York City. Newspaper hawkers rebelled when powerful publisher Joseph Pulitzer raised the price of a bundle of 100 newspapers from 50 cents to 60 cents.
I totally related to this premise because I was a newsboy myself as a 12-year-old. Those pennies add up.
Playing the lead role of alpha newsboy Jack Kelly is Miami native Joey Barreiro. Playing the beta newsboy role of crippled orphan Crutchie is Zachary Sayle. Ambitious, crusading reporter Katherine Plumber is played by adorable Morgan Keene. The black hat role of Joseph Pulitzer is played by Steve Blanchard.
We think of Pulitzer as a good guy now because of the prize that is named after him, but when he was alive he was a ruthless, domineering boss. In this fable Jack Kelly stands up to Pulitzer and ultimately wins his respect.
But as I stated, the story is the least important part of this show. What is important is the incredible athletic dances performed by the news boys. These guys defy gravity and physical limitations. If you have ever been a dancer yourself (I have), you will be impressed.
So for a good time, check out “Newsies” in its limited time in Fort Lauderdale. I think it will be worth your while.
Tickets are $30-$100. Call TicketMaster at 800-745-3000 or 954-462-0222 or go to www.browardcenter.org.