THEATER TALK: "Newsies The Musical" Sneak Preview
The cast of the stage musical of "Newsies," now appearing at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, went on The View recently to promote the show. The music is composed by Alan Menken (who also wrote the music for pretty much every Disney movie musical you grew up watching). The cast is made up of relative unknowns, but as illustrated by the performance above, they seem quite good!
We don't get a huge glimpse at the show, just snippets of two songs, but what we do see is tantalizing. The show is definitely bowing to the resurgence of impressive, full-cast choreography (see: "Catch Me If You Can" and "How to Succeed" on Broadway, "Oklahoma!" at Arena Stage in Washington, DC), but it also seems to be bringing in some of the more athletic and innovative elements that have worked so well for shows like "American Idiot."
Particularly notable is the up-and-coming Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly, the role Christian Bale played in the 1992 movie. The man clearly has a huge set of pipes on him, as seen in the song "Santa Fe," and he definitely looks like someone whose career is just taking off. His future is looking bright, as he begins previews for "Bonnie and Clyde" on Broadway November 4 (he'll be playing Clyde).
While Menken has had great success with his compositions for movies, his production history with live theater has been a bit more spotty. "Leap of Faith," (based on the Steve Martin movie) which appeared at the Ahmanson last season, had a lot of buzz about transferring to Broadway, but that all seems to have fizzled out. When it opened, there was a lot of talk that it would bow on the Great White Way this fall, but now, after some revamping, it may appear at some point during the 2011-2012 season. Menken's most recent Broadway musical, "The Sister Act" (yet another movie adaptation), which actually originated at the Pasadena Playhouse, received generally positive reviews, but has been overshadowed by other shows this season, like the behemoth "Book of Mormon." It's been making some money, but it has one of the lowest average seat prices on Broadway, meaning that lots of reduced-price tickets are being offered to entice new viewers. Menken is a very talented composer, so hopefully "Newsies" will be a success. It has a lot of buzz around it, so ideally, that will translate to high ticket sales!
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