About a week ago, the Newsies broadway show was in town. I have been waiting for this for years, because well, I was OBSESSED with the movie when I was a kid. I'm not exaggerating when I say I watched it several times a week (maybe daily) over summer break for at least a few years. I could probably still quote most of it by heart even though I have no idea when I last watched the movie. So, you can imagine my expectations were high for the show. And while I was watching it, I just felt very conflicted. Apologies in advance for my crazed ramblings here. I obviously care a little too much about this particular topic.
As a standalone show (not comparing it to the movie), I think it was pretty fantastic. The performers were super talented, and the dancing was insane.
When I compare it to the movie, I just felt disappointed. As with any book-to-movie type transition, they made changes. Some of them I liked, some I didn't like but understood, and some were just unnecessary.
For example, in the movie, Jack falls in love with David's sister. She's basically in 3 scenes.As a boy-crazy elementary kid, I didn't understand why he liked her because she barely said or did anything, but that's beside the point. The reporter in the movie is a middle-aged guy who helps the newsies. In the musical, they combined these parts. So Jack's 17. The girl is working as a reporter, so I assume she's older than that? And the whole dynamic is different. And then she's randomly Joe Pulitzer's daughter? I understand why they made this change, because they wanted the love story to be more central to the plot, but I hated it. The actress was great, and I actually loved her songs and chemistry with Jack, but I didn't like the way it changed the plot dynamic. And I hate hate hated how it made Pulitzer less of an enemy by the end. No, Jack would never have gone to work for the paper directly.
But can anyone explain to me why they changed SO MANY of the song lyrics? And Medda's songs were completely different! Where's High Times, Hard Times when you need it? Santa Fe was the first song (and then showed up several more times), which started things off on a slow note. And the "full" version of it was a lot different than the movie version (which is fabulous, even if Christian Bale is embarrassed about this role). Besides, if musical Jack is an artist, shouldn't he love living in New York? Musical Jack wasn't even in the diner for King of New York! And don't even get me started on the missing Spot Conlon quote "I object... on the ground of Brooklyn!"
And I never really thought about it, but the Newsies rally all the other child laborers in the city, and then Jack makes the deal with Pulitzer, but what happens to all the other kids? Do they get better treatment??
Anyway, I have a lot of feelings about this particular topic, but I should probably stop ranting now. This isn't a Broadway review blog!
Dress: Loft Maternity