Let's make one thing clear, as a young girl in 1992, I was obsessed with the movie version of Newsies. Having already seen the Broadway production, I jumped at the chance to review the Connecticut Repertory Theatre's production which opened Friday night and it did not disappoint. The performance was full of high energy, powerful voices, and imaginative choreography.
Set in the heart of New York City, Newsies tells a fictionalized story inspired by the real events of the Newsboy Strike of 1899. Although rooted in the past, the show explores topical themes of social injustice, exploitive labor, and the true power the Davids of the world can wield against the Goliaths.
As a dancer myself, I am well aware of the career of Director/Choreographer, Christopher d'Amboise at the New York City Ballet. So I was very interested to see what he would come up with for a production like this. Not only was I impressed with how he scaled the show to fit this particular stage but his use of a wide variety of choreography that not only had hints of Jerome Robbins but Bob Fosse as well.
The music sounded great all throughout the performance which is a credit to music director NDavid Williams and conductor Tom McDonough. The scenic, lighting and costuming were also creative and impressive. Huge kudos to Tim Brown, Michael Chybowski and Fan Zhang respectively.
Among the standouts in this cast were certainly Tyler Jones as Crutchie and Richard R. Henry as Pulitzer. While I've never really cared for the character of Katherine, Paige Smith's performance is starting to change my mind. But Jim Schubin's Jack Kelly is a sight to behold. Possessing one of the stronger voices I've heard in a while, Schubin is everything you want Jack Kelly to be in a truly outstanding performance.
All in all, this is a production not to be missed.
Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Subscription package options range from $30 to $99. Single tickets prices range from $12 to $55.
Children must be at least 4 years old to attend CRT productions. For additional ticket information or to purchase tickets by phone, call 860.486.2113. To purchase tickets online,visit www.crt.uconn.edu. All sales are final; no refunds. Play selections and performance dates are subject to change. Single tickets are now on sale.
The Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre is located on the campus of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, CT.
Photo: L to R: Tyler Jones (Crutchie), Jim Schubin (Jack Kelly), Tuck Sweeney (Race) in Disney’s Newsies onstage at Connecticut Repertory Theatre July 6-16, directed and choreographed by Christopher d’Amboise. Info at crt.uconn.edu. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.