In my Social Change class, I have been learning about labor movements and labor unions and that made me think of Newsies. So this post will be dedicated to that musical.
Newsies is based off of the real life story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899. Part of why this plot is so strong is because it is based off a true story. As a bit of background, the Newsies are a group of orphans and runaways who tend to be homeless and they make a living by selling newspapers. They struggle to survive off of the small salary they make from selling newspapers. But if they don’t sell all of their papers, they cannot buy them back so they have to buy the unsold papers. Well to make matters even worse, one day Pulitizer raised the price of their papers from 50 cents per 100 papers to 60 cents per 100 papers, which makes their job even harder. So they decide to go on strike and stand up for their rights. That is a bit of background of the story of Newsies.
In the actual musical, Jack Kelly, the protagonist, is the leader of the Newsies. He always dreams of going to Santa Fe. He is kind of like the father to the Newsies in a kind of way and he cares about them. He is especially protective of Crutchie and is afraid that Crutchie will sent off to the Refuge and just knows how vulnerable his friend will be there. Cructhie has a bum leg and has to walk around with the aid of a crutch. I love the bond that these two characters have for each other. That is what I am emotionally connected to the most, but also feel emotionally connected to the brotherly love that all the Newsies have for each other.
There is also Davey and Les, who join the Newsies later on. They actually have a family but become part of the Newsies family in order to support their family.
All of these Newsies form a union in order to strike against Pultizer. Another very important character is Katherine, Jack’s love interest and reporter for the strike.
These characters are very well-rounded especially Jack. Jack does go through some inner conflict after a big fight breaks out and he sees Crutchie being taken away and he knows that his friend will be sent to the Refuge. He is almost ready to give up on the strike, but Katerine and Davey help him through his inner struggle. The inner struggle of Jack is one of the biggest reasons why Jack is so well-rounded. Even Crutchie is well rounded especially after the touring production gave Crutchie a heartbreaking solo called “Letter from the Refuge”.
Newsies overall is quite a memorable storyline. The fact that these Newsies actually stood up against Pultizer and won is hard to believe that this story actually happened. The dancing is quite mind-blowing and is one of the main reasons why I really love this musical. When I saw it last year, I knew I was going to strongly fall in love with the dance after hearing it had Tony-Award winning choreography. To me, I love dance so much in a musical because just like songs, it adds something quite valuable to a musical experience.
What are your thoughts about Newsies?