ABOUT THE PLAY
A band of newsboys launch a strike against the most powerful media titans of New York. It’s based on the historical newsboy strike of 1899 that shook the ivory towers of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer who raised newspaper distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense. Newsies the Musical – not to be confused with Newsies - the not very successful movie of 1992 - leaps off the stage with soul stirring music, amazing heart, and stunning choreography. Now is the time to seize the day and discover the remarkable strength that comes from standing together - one for all, and all for one.
Newsies The Musical was the winner of the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography. The stage adaptation played on Broadway from 2012 - 2014 with a national tour that concluded just this past summer. The Broadway run was only expected to play 101 performances, but audiences never abated so the show ended up running a total of 1005 performances. Since 2011 Newsies has played 1,711
performances between Broadway and the North American tour to more than 2.5 million audience members. It received 23 major theatrical nominations including 8 tony award nominations. A movie was made of the Broadway production that included many of the original cast members. The film was released in February 2017 for a limited three day run in theatres across the country.
THE ACTUAL NEWSBOY STRIKE OF 1899
The newsboys’ strike in the summer of 1899 lasted two-weeks and resulted in a considerable decline in circulation of the two most powerful papers in the country. The strike drew rallies of more than 5,000 as the young newsboys called on the public to boycott newspapers The World and The Journal. Shortly after the strike began, the public showed their support and stopped buying the offending papers.
Newspapers at that time were sold in bundles of 100 at a cost of 50-cents to the
newsboys who would hawk them throughout the city. When the publishers raised the price to 60-cents and refused to buy back unsold papers it was a massive hardship on the group of poor orphans that largely comprised the child labor force of newsboys.
In the end, Hearst and Pulitzer, though not lowering prices, did agree to buy back unsold papers as a compromise. The newsies’ strike spawned similar actions in other parts of the country as well. The strikes would eventually lead to the introduction of urban child-welfare practices
Set in New York City at the turn of the century and based on a true story, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged “newsies,” who dream only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets which is only a step up from the brutal conditions in the refuge house. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike and take a stand for what’s right.
Jack Kelly lives with his fellow orphaned and homeless “newsies” and has a dream to leave New York for Santa Fe. With sunup, the newsies are off to purchase their papers for another work day. Jack meets Davey and his brother Les. Not like the other boys, they have a family and a home, except they need to work because their father was fired after a work related accident. Jack’s willing to help Davey and Les out but have to find cover from Warden Snyder of The Refuge. They duck into a vaudeville theatre and watch Jack’s friend Medda perform “That’s Rich.” There, Jack introduces himself and flirts with a young reporter named Katherine Plumber, however, she wants nothing to do with Jack. Also this day, the two big paper publishers make plans to raise the price of newspapers and increase their bottom line. Come the next morning the newsies find out that the coast per hundred papers has gone from 50-cents to 60-cents which motivates an outraged Jack to organize a protest.The young journalist, Katherine, is now inspired by Jack’s leadership, and sees the newspaper strike as an opportunity to be taken seriously as a real journalist as she decides to cover the strike. Jack’s attempt at a full blown strike initially falls short, Davey is able to rally the boys for a full on strike against the New York World…but strike breakers and the police cut the protest short.
While the newsies are discouraged with their efforts to mount a meaningful strike, Katherine lifts their spirits when she shows them the front page article that ran in the New York Sun. However, in deeper reflection, Jack is reluctant to put the newsies in danger again. At the World, it’s revealed that Jack is an escaped criminal having stolen food and clothing. Katherine is able to hear this news as presented by Warden Snyder. Jack is there to confront Pulitzer and discovers that Pulitzer is actually Katherine’s father. She tries to apologize for not telling him as Warden Snyder is prepared to escort Jack to the refuge. Pulitzer makes a final offer for Jack to call off the strike and in turn be cleared of the charges and given enough money to relocate to Santa Fe.
The newsies of Brooklyn, headed by Spot Conlon, bring their support for Jack’s protest. Jack and Katherine are making up and their purpose is reignited. The newsies hope to rally more support by printing their own paper, which is sent to Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who arrives fully supporting the newsies. That’s the final blow for Pulitzer who agrees to Jack’s proposal that the World buy back unsold papers from the newsies and ending the newsboy strike. Jake and Katherine’s romance is on the rise and Jack’s artistic talents are about to take a new and profitable turn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alan Menken – Music - Theater: God Bless You Mr Rosewater, Little Shop Of Horrors, Real Life Funnies, Atina: Evil Queen Of The Galaxy, Kicks, The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz, Beauty And The Beast, A Christmas Carol, Weird Romance, King David, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Leap Of Faith, Aladdin and Newsies. Film: Little Shop Of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Hercules, Life With Mikey, Lincoln, Home On The Range, Noel, Enchanted, Shaggy Dog, Tangled and Mirror Mirror. Songs: Rocky V, Home Alone 2 and Captain America. Awards: 8 Oscars (19 nominations), 11 Grammys (including Song of the Year) , 7 Golden Globes, Tony® (plus 4 nominations), Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, New York Drama Critics, Olivier and London’s Evening Standard Award, Drama League. Honors: Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Doctorates from New York University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Jack Feldman – Lyrics – Credits on and off Broadway: Newsies (Tony, OCC Awards, Drama Desk nomination); The Madwoman of Central Park West; Isn’t It Romantic; Beyond Therapy; Coming Attractions; Idiots Karamazov (Yale Rep). Film and TV: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; A Goofy Movie; Oliver & Co.; Newsies; Tribute; Used People; Life with Mikey; The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride; 102 Dalmations; PBS Theatre In America: Out of Our Father’s House; The Little Mermaid TV special; Polly; Sesame Street; Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. Pop songs: “Copacabana,” “I Made It Through the Rain,” “Paradise Café.”
Harvey Fierstein – Book - is a four-time Tony Award winning writer and actor. His Broadway writing credits include Kinky Boots, Torch Song Trilogy (Tony, Drama Desk, Dramatists Guild Awards), Safe Sex, Legs Diamond and A Catered Affair (12 Drama Desk nominations and the Drama League Award for Best Musical). His La Cage Aux Folles is the only show to ever win Best Musical and 2 Best Revival Tony Awards. Other plays include Spookhouse, Forget Him and Flatbush Tosca. His teleplays include Tidy Endings for HBO (ACE Award), and On Common Ground for Showtime. His children’s HBO special, The Sissy Duckling, won the Humanitas Prize and the book version is in its fifth printing. Other honors include the Drama League Award for Outstanding Performer of the Year, a special OBIE award, NY Magazine Award, and nominations for The Olivier Award and an Emmy. His political writings have been seen on PBS’ series “In The Life” and published in The NY Times, Huffington Post and Hartford Courant. He was inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame in 2008.
Bob Tzudiker & Noni White - Original Screenplay - The pair sold their first feature film pitch, Newsies, to Disney. They went on to write the hit animated films Tarzan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Anastasia. Their live-action credits include Newsies and 102 Dalmatians. Bob and Noni also contributed to the film The Lion King and have written screenplays for every major studio. They met as actors, members of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, LA, and were later cast as husband and wife in a play for LA Theatre Works. It took. Bob, a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, appeared in Total Recall, Ruthless People and Hill Street Blues, among others. Noni’s TV credits include Taxi, Little House on the Prairie and 7th Heaven, to name a few, and her features include Memories of Me and The Prizewinner.
Newsies The Musical