Seize the Day

There are a couple of musicals set in New York City. I love more than one of them. I decided to highlight one of them today. Newsies is one of those rare musicals that is successful- but wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for those fans created by the 1992 movie. It won Best Choreography, but only has played in the US, but it needs to transfer to the West End. The stage show is better than that 1992 movie. This musical in some ways was expected by some followers and not by others. In my opinion, it is an underrated musical.

Story

Let’s start at this story. The Newsboy Strike of 1899 did happen. Due to Newsies, you learn about a piece of history that was forgotten. Their story is inspiring. The fact that these Newsboys, who literally don’t have much, would stand up against people like Pulitzer is inspiring.

Characters

Jack Kelly- while the story focuses on ALL the Newsies, Jack is our main protagonist. He is a dreamer, romantic, and artist. He truly cares about his brother especially for Crutchie, who is the most vulnerable. Jack is the leader of the Manhattan Newsies. He would rather protect his brothers than see them getting hurt- you notice this after that fight happens in act I. He wants to call off the strike to protect his Newsies and seeing his best friend being arrested hurts him a great deal- all of this gives him some inner conflict. He does fall in love (like you would expect) to Katherine Plumber, the reporter of the strike.

Crutchie- He is a wonderful spirit and is optimistic no matter the situation. He may have a bum leg, but has so much courage like the other Newsies during the strike. Even when at the Refuge, he still believes in the strike.

Newsies- Well, I love all the Newsies. They are like a tight knit band of brothers that they feel like family. Some of them are homeless, some are runaways, and some are them have no family—–so they have to stand by each other. Yes, we might have our favorite Newsies, but it is hard not to fall in love with them as a whole. My favorite Newsies in the group are Jack and Crutchie due to their intimate and special bond.

Davey- He is the only one of the Newsies who has a family. He had to start selling papers to provide for his family. He basically throughout the strike is second in command since Jack is their leader.

Katherine- She is one of the MAIN reasons why the stage show is better than that 1992 movie. The stage show gives a strong female voice- you have a strong reporter and love her and Jack as a couple. She gets her own solo: “Watch What Happens” and has that love duet with Jack: “Something to Believe In”. You have that female voice the 1992 movie is lacking.

Songs:

They have ALL five core emotions. Hope, exciting, determination, joy, love, sad, and heartbreak are in the songs. Who can not love these songs- “Seize the Day”, “Something to Believe In”, “The World Will Know”, “Santa Fe”, etc. The song, “Letter From the Refuge” was added when the first tour opened- while “Santa Fe” is a sad song, “Letter from the Refuge” hits that heartbreaking side.

Courage Cannot Erase Our Fear

Courage is When We Face Our Fear

Seize the Day, Newsies

Dance

This is the first time I brought this up. Some of these songs you fall in love with even more once you see the dance. After seeing it, you can understand why it won that Tony Award for Choreography. I could not believe what I was seeing- those guys are quite talented. The dancing drives a lot of the show.

Conclusion

This is my first time with a conclusion. I still can’t quite understand why Newsies has only played in the US. It played on Broadway two years and toured two years. Now I am noticing that it is playing at local, regional, and community theaters and at schools- I saw Newsies at my hometown’s community college and on tour. So, if Newsies is able to be that successful, wouldn’t a place like London consider doing the show? Even though I only been to the West End once, I know the talent is there- it requires a lot of actors who are extremely talented in dance and just a few actresses (considering that the show is male-based). To your surprise, Newsies is a Disney musical.

Favorite Song: Seize the Day

Characters I Find Impossible to Dislike

Yes, there are characters that some people do not like and some that others dislike. However, haven’t you come across some characters that you find impossible to dislike- that no matter what ALL people will love. I will make mention of those characters.

  1. Enjolras and the Friends of the ABC
  2. Jack Kelly and the Newsies
    • Both of these groups- how can you dislike a band of brothers filled with so much courage and who stand up for what they believe in. That is why BOTH groups are impossible to dislike.
  3. The Genie

Wish I could think of more. It is just ALL I can think of for now.

Favorite Protagonists of Musicals

One of the most crucial elements of a musical is the protagonist (the main character). It is their story that we want to follow along with the various subplots. Who are some of my favorite protagonists?

  1. Elphaba/Glinda
  2. Aladdin
  3. Belle
  4. Simba
  5. Elsa/Anna
  6. Jack Kelly
  7. Christine
  8. Jean Valjean
  9. Annie
  10. Oliver
  11. Harold Hill
  12. Maria- the Sound of Music one

Why do two have two protagonists listed. Frozen and Wicked just happen to have two main characters in them, and I wouldn’t choose one over the other to be the primary protagonist.

Loving Couples in Musicals

There are several couples that exist in musicals. Sometimes, the same musical has multiple romances. What exactly makes me fall in love with a couple? It mainly deals with their main song? Sometimes, other things are taken into consideration. What are some of my favorite couples?

  1. Elphaba and Fiyero
  2. Cosette and Marius
  3. Christine and Raoul
  4. Jasmine and Aladdin
  5. Nala and Simba
  6. Belle and Beast
  7. Katherine and Jack Kelly
  8. Mimi and Roger

You might notice something- these are young couples. That’s right- most couples in musical theatre are young.

Any you can add to the list?

Disney Romantic Protagonists

Like I said in the previous posts, we all were raised on some Disney- it can be the Pixar films, the musical theatre films, or the typical Disney films. In the musical theatre ones, there is always that romantic male lead and we do know that they will fall in love–but they do more than just fall in love. Who are some of these romantic male leads.

  1. Beast
  2. Aladdin
  3. Simba
  4. Jack Kelly

Minor Spoilers

Not only are they are the romantic male lead- they are the actual protagonist (except for the Beast) of the musical itself.

The Beast is a prince in disguise who lives at an enchanted castle, which is home to enchanted objects like Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip. He later takes Belle as prisoner when she takes her father’s place. A romance soon is going to happen Beast and Belle, which slowly develops.

Beast and Belle

Aladdin is the clever and caring street-rat who is looking for something more than life on the streets. It is Jasmine he falls in love with, Princess of Agrabah. A lot of people in his town see him as no more than a street-rat, but he is so much more.

Aladdin

Simba is the son of Mufasa and is destined to become King. It follows Simba from the days of him as a cub, but mostly after the death of his father- all the way to when he was a young adult. He and Nala were best friends as cubs and later the two of them fell in love- I think that is part of what makes their love incredible.

Simba

Jack Kelly is leader of the Newsies and best friends to Crutchie. The bond found between Jack and Crutchie is a special and intimate bond. He is a dreamer, who is an artist, and cares a lot about his brothers. He falls in love with Katherine, reporter of the strike.

Newsies- Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro)-my favorite Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly

Any other Disney romantic male leads you can think of?

Something to Believe In

We all know the iconic Disney love songs- “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “A Whole New World”. They all have this sense of magic in them. There is something about the couples found in them. You just can’t help but love. What about the contemporary Disney love songs- can they fit the same nature?

Yes, they can. I learned this through “Something to Believe In”- the love song found between Jack and Katherine. You might be puzzled about where is this song and who is Jack and who is Katherine. Well, they come from Newsies, which is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899. Jack is the leader of the Newsies while Katherine ends up being the reporter of the strike.

Something to Believe In- Jack and Katherine
Jack and Katherine

While not taking place on a magic carpet or through a dance or two animals or something magic, the song defiantly has the same nature. It takes place on the rooftop Jack and Crutchie live. Jack is a dreamer and romantic—yes, he is more mature than the other Newsies, but still has innocence. The song does have an innocent nature packed into it- when you hear the song, you can say this does fit under Disney love songs. What I love about the addition of Katherine in Newsies is that it gives the musical a strong female voice-Katherine is a strong character herself.

1800s Shows

What does Les Mis, La Bohème, Phantom of the Opera, and Newsies have in common? They all take place during the 1800s and they are musical shows (either a musical or an opera). All of them, but Newsies, take place in France. Newsies is the one looks out of place- it is Disney and takes place in Manhattan. However- Newsies still takes place in the same century as the other three. I do love all four shows- will try to explain below.

Les Mis

It is obvious by now that Les Mis holds a lot of meaning. Strong emotional connection. Tragic and inspiring storyline. Powerful, emotional, epic, and passionate songs. While a tragedy- still has its’ themes of compassion, hope, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get of one small thing- even one tiny thing-the entire thing starts unraveling itself. Those songs are emotional to the point of getting goosebumps and reducing you to tears- that is what they have done to me.

Ovens Auditorium

La Bohème

This is an opera- but still fits under the umbrella of telling a story through song. La Bohème is the tragic love story of Rodolfo and Mimi set in France in the 1830s. The songs between Rodolfo and Mimi are beautiful and truly brings out their love for each other even in the end-no matter the complications that come up in their relationship, they always had true love for each other. La Bohème so far is my favorite love story despite it being tragic.

Belk Theater

Phantom of the Opera

Now, going further into the 1800s- as in late 1800s, we move into the Paris Opera House. This is truly a hauntingly beautiful musical. Phantom of the Opera is a love triangle found between Phantom, Christine, and Raoul. It is full of suspense, mystery, revenge, beauty, and love. While Christine and Raoul truly love each other, it makes Phantom not react well to his unrequited love, which makes it angelic and beautiful, but haunting. The music is haunting at times and beautiful at times-which fits perfectly into Phantom of the Opera.

Peace Center

Newsies

Yes, Newsies is a 1800s musical, and it is set in 1899 in Manhattan. It is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899, and yes this event really did happen. When Pulitizer raised the price of newspapers, the newsboys went on strike. Eventually, this event was known through the musical, Newsies. There are a lot of reasons why I love Newsies- the mind-blowing dance, the energetic and at times emotional songs, the characters, and the story.

I love the Newsies mostly Jack Kelly (their leader) and Crutchie, and part of that comes from their intimate and special bond. When you see Newsies, you will see dance that will blow your mind: it did win Tony Award Choreography, and you will understand why once you see the show. Due to it being a dance-natured show, it has to have energetic songs, and “Seize the Day” is my favorite song in Newsies (there is one moment, they are dancing on Newspapers). There are even more emotional songs (“Santa Fe” is a sad song). Eventually, once it had a tour, they added in “Letter from the Refuge”, Crutchie’s solo- it used to be just “Santa Fe”, that was sad, but “Letter From the Refuge” fits that too-now both are used for all productions. The storyline is so inspiring- the fact that these newsboys stood up for what they believe in, despite barely having much, and never gave up is incredible.

Belk Theater