by Stephen Diehl
Short Spoiler-Free Theatrical Musical Performance Review
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Novahousewives writer has a great time seeing Broadway show...in DC. So, as my exciting eye-catching opening line alludes to, I recently had the opportunity to see Disney's "Newsies" at the National Theatre in DC and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I watched the 1992 movie (which starred a relatively young Christian Bale) upon which this musical production is based years ago. However, it'd been long enough for me to completely forget the plotline except for the fact that it had something to do with newspaper boys or "newsies" as they are called. This musical production (and the movie before it) is based on a true story that took place in 1899 New York City when a ruthless newspaper publisher named Pulitzer (who you may have heard of him as there's some sort of prize out there named after him) decides to raise the price charged to sell newspapers to "newsies" who in turn sell the newspapers to the general populace. The "newsies" aren't exactly "on the trolley" when it comes to this idea which would cut into their bottom-line, so they decide to strike.
The whole story reminded me of Disney's "Aladdin" meets "Oliver Twist" crossed with "West Side Story" plus a dash of "Romeo & Juliet" with a little "Gangs of New York" (minus the graphic violence) tossed in for good measure. The cast is predominantly male but the show appeals to mass audiences as the impressive multi-level set (think three three-story fire escapes running the entire length of the stage and often being rearranged to fit each scene), impressive dance moves and acrobatics, and effective use of multi-media projections are enough to capture just about anyone's attention.
The story, which involves the classic "David & Goliath" struggle of the little man versus the big evil corporation, contains an educational message that can be used to teach kids about a "Childrens Crusade" of sorts and about how children used to work in factories and in otherwise unfair and unsafe working conditions. This can also be used as a talking point when arguing with your child in an effort to convince them how good and how easy they have things: "I only asked you to put your toys away, at least I'm not making you work in a factory." Or something like that. The show is generally safe for most ages and the language is fairly safe except perhaps for the use of a word referring to a donkey or one's posterior, starts with "a", and rhymes with "grass".
Please note that this was my first time seeing a show in the National Theatre, and there didn't appear to really be a bad seat in the house. During intermission, the kids might enjoy walking towards the stage to look into the "pit" where the orchestra resides under the protective cover of a net that prevents them from getting hit by the occasional wayward bundle of newspapers. I'd definitely return to see another show there. As for this show, it runs from June 9-21 and is 2 hours 30 minutes in length including a 15-minute intermission.
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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