Newsies | Cadillac Palace Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge The chorus of Newsies

The chorus of Newsies

In 1899 New York newsboys went on strike, demanding a better deal from Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It's cool that they won, but it would've been so much cooler had they done it dancing like the killer chorus in this touring show. Based on if not entirely faithful to Disney's 1992 movie musical, the stage Newsies (Broadway, 2012-2014) gives us Jack Kelly, a charismatic but troubled teen who organizes his fellow child laborers almost in spite of himself while falling in love with the "girl reporter" covering the strike. The songs by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman are almost unanimously anthemic, and Harvey Fierstein's book outdoes the original for aspirational schmaltz. It's the dancing, though, that stirs things up. An Agnes de Mille-ian mix of folk motifs and balletic athleticism, Christopher Gatelli's choreography gets exuberant, often air-borne realization here, complemented by the mobile, scaffolding-like units of Tobin Ost's set. Appropriately, it's a union show. —Tony Adler



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