Not even a raging snowstorm could keep this reviewer from checking out the St. Louis debut of Broadway’s latest hit musical, Disney’s “Newsies.”
OK, so it was just 1-3 inches, but in the minor metropolitan area we call St. Louis, even a minor dusting of snow makes it impossible to get around. I was lucky to arrive before the 7:30 p.m. start time — many people didn’t.
It was worth the longer-than-usual drive downtown to see it. “Newsies” is a high-energy, dance-heavy, plot-light musical extravaganza set against the backdrop of 1899 New York City.
Joey Barreiro stars as Jack Kelly, a charismatic poor kid getting by in New York by selling. newspapers. When publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Steve Blanchard) decides to improve circulation by raising the price of papers (forcing the newsies to sell more papers to make the same piddling amount of salary), Joey and his pals are put in a bind.
Egged on by a young, wannabe muckraker named Katherine (Morgan Keene) and a few of the other boys, Joey agrees to lead them in a strike against the newspaper magnate. But unionizing a bunch of kids and bringing down Pulitzer may be a bigger challenge than they can dance their way out of.
And that’s pretty much the whole story. Oh, there’s the obligatory romance involving Joey and Katherine, and one of the boys temporarily winds up in “the Refuge,” a poorhouse for boys, but “Newsies” didn’t win a couple of Tonys for it’s complex plot.
No, it won for choreography and score, which is where the show really shines. The musical features a number of amazing dance numbers, which are the real stars of the show. The talented cast sings, leaps, taps and engages in all sorts of acrobatics. Who knew it was so much fun to sell newspapers? It wasn’t that much fun working on them.
In addition to its exuberant musical numbers, the show features an impressive set design and clever use of multimedia. “Newsies” is an excellent way to shake off any winter blues.
“Disney’s Newsies” is at the Fox Theatre through Jan. 31. http://www.fabulousfox.com/