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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Disney's Newsies review- Theatre in the Cinema!

Disney's Newsies review- theatre in the cinema

My daughter and I had a new experience last weekend when we went to the cinema to see a show. The Broadway musical, Disney Newsies was true event cinema- although Newsies wasn't broadcast live like some event cinema it was shown exclusively on dates around the one weekend in different countries around the world. In the UK all performances were on the afternoon of Sunday 19th February and the showing gave fans of the musical a chance to see an absolutely stunning performance of Newsies which we would have to fly to the US to see otherwise.

I first heard of Newsies from a friend about a year ago and then the very catchy song 'Seize the Day' was sung and performed at Esther's dance show last summer. It wasn't until we got our Disneylife subscription that I saw the original 1992 film of Disney's Newsies and began listening to the soundtrack. The film starred, among others. Christian Bale and with songs written by Alan Menken and J.A.C Redford. This film never got the recognition of Menken's other hits such as the animated classics Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and the Little Mermaid.

Newsies is very loosely based on the story of newspaper boys who went on strike in 1899 New York although I imagine that the true events involved rather less tap dancing, pirouetting, cart wheeling and singing! I love how much this show shows off boys dance and that even though they are not many female characters the main female role has been developed into a strong and pivotal character, definitely not just a love interest! Some of the songs and some of the main characters have been transformed in this newer Broadway adaption all to the better, I think the story works better now so much so that I am now completely sold on this theatrical version as being where Newsies needed to evolve to. The energy and non stop dancing of the main characters is absolutely exhilarating throughout and this was made all the better by seeing it on the big screen. However, there were occasions when the close up camera work stopped me from seeing the full choreography and I thought I would have preferred to see the full stage rather than a part of it. Perhaps it is the English reserve but I was desperate to clap after every big number just like the audience in the theatre on screen did. We saved our applause for the end but we did have the much needed interval part way through.

I have read reports which suggest Newsies will eventually come over to the West End which would be amazing. I am so glad to have seen this version, however, as there is no getting away from the American identity of Newsies from the story to the accents and the scenery. The two main characters were played by the extremely talented Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly and Kara Lindsay as Katherine, reprising their original Broadway roles. I can only keep my fingers crossed that the Broadway version will now be released on DVD as I can't wait to see it again! I am also sold on the idea that theatre productions can be successfully shown in the cinema making them accessible to a much wider audience. I shall be looking forward to more of these!

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