NEWSIES! Musical- Toronto ( thoughts….)

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So, today after much waiting my husband and I finally got to go see the Newsies musical in Toronto. I have been waiting for it to come to Toronto since it was first announced for Broadway in New York.  I would have bought them to go in June had I been aware of the Pan Am games, and the Blue Jays games but alas I was not when I bought them,  so we spent an very uncomfortable trip to Toronto on a very packed GO train and a very human packed walk to the theatre as well. The return trip was much better!

The Newsies has been one of my favourite musicals since I was about 11 years old when the movie version came out. Being a preteen and already in  love with music, and of course what 11 year old wouldn’t enjoy watching a movie with a lot of good looking young teens and twenty somethings at the time. …. ok I was a typical pre-teen girl, I admit it.  I think my love for the music and the musical was ingrained even more deeply with our grade 6 class radio version production of the story as part of English class.

This overall was a well done musical  ( go see it if you can!!!!… says the girl that was cult obsessed on this musical as a preteen.) and of course to take a movie and make it a stage musical took work as there were a lot of different scene changes and less space and of course actors then you would have in a movie, but all in all the accommodations were done well.

Dan De Luca, lead the pack of newsboys playing Jack Kelly in this musical version, like every other person in this show he is a triple threat. He practically had the exact accent Christian Bale did in the movie, if I closed my eyes I would have thought it was Christian Bale on stage when he spoke, his acting was superb, and his singing was good, though at times he had a tighter tone quality though it seemed to occur mostly after lengthy dance scenes effecting his breathing and by keeping his accent as it tightened up the vowels, otherwise he did a great job portraying the character. He was quite able as a dancer along with everyone else in the company. ( more on that later.)

Jacob Kemp played the role of David Jacobs in this musical version, what an great singer and I personally found that every time he opened his mouth to sing this amazing tone came out and really the true character of Davey came through. I wasn’t personally a fan of his choice to make the character in lack of a better term wimpy. David was the brains of the whole strike, though cautious and rightly so… I never view his as whimpy…. when I heard his voice I thought of Crutchie and when Crutchie opened his mouth I heard David…..my preference is  towards David Moscow’s portrayal of this character. Again, Kemp did well in the dance scenes with everyone.

Otherwise every other character that was on the stage sounded like and portrayed the character, like the movie, it felt like some of them even looked like the guys from back in the 90’s.  I’m not sure how I felt about the fact that they had actors doubled up on roles, it kind of made it hard to tell which character you where watching other then a change in costume….  For instance the role of Spot Conlon was played by the same person ( Jeff Heimbrook) who played Elmer and ensemble… This happened with other characters too but I only really noticed it with the role of Spot Conlon this role really should have had it’s own actor  not a shared role. I couldn’t really tell which character was Spot. The role was bigger in the movie  and it’s unfortunate they chose to cut it down he was one of my favourite characters in the movie.

Differences from movie VS musical…. and boy there are quite a few……. and I’m not really sure how I feel about them…..they work I guess…. but I’m a traditionalist at times when it comes to history and tend to like to keep things historically accurate…

David’s sister Sarah ( who is Jack’s main love interest in the movie and the only female role other then the singing nun’s at the beginning in the movie didn’t exist in the musical at all! ) In the movie she was weaker female role ( not what we like to portray today.) and a home body….Also the main reporter Mr. Denton was not in the musical version either. These two roles were combined together to create the character of Katherine the reporter and thus only girl ( other then a female secretary to Pulitzer, Medda Larkin and the nuns. ) for Jack to have a love interest in…… This character I am going to assume was based off the only really well known strong female reporter of that historical time period Elizabeth Jane Cochran AKA Nellie Bly her pen name…. this is where my historical traditionalist comes in….and of course what today demands is a strong female character for today’s young girls to look up too, which is what the creation of this role is meant for..and that is all well and good and the storyline changes worked and the musical was good and I enjoyed it a lot….. and as mentioned there were a few pioneering women out there like Ms. Bly… but historically she was retired by the the time the newsboys strike happened in 1899….and journalism really was for the most part a world of men in that time frame…. I don’t really see why it couldn’t have remained the same as the movie….( personal opinion)…. But in the end it all worked with the story line changes and plot twists…..that conform to today’s day and age….. for strong female roles…. it worked fine in the movie with out it, so I’m sure it would have been fine as the musical, but to each his own….

Though I have my personal pet peeves ( which are minor)… I really did find this musical very enjoyable and would recommend it to go see…..My favourite parts were the ensemble parts and songs that resembled the movie. I mean the dancing was fabulous!   I could really watch those guys dance again and again!! It was great! and they sounded amazing singing too! If I had enough money I would go see it again…. but since I don’t I’ll watch my DVD instead.

Final Rating for this show was 4 out of 5 stars!

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