I knew I’d love the Appleton North production of Newsies before I even bought a ticket. First of all, I genuinely love anything Ron Parker directs and I am keenly aware of the extraordinary talent his program attracts.
I also just loved the movie when I saw it in 1992 with my then five-year old son Charlie and three-year old daughter Katherine. We sang all the way home and were shocked by the less than stellar reviews.
The thing about a Parker production is that, even if you didn’t love the original, you will always love his interpretation.
Appleton North’s Newsies really is a foot-tapping, eye-catching, thought provoking, spectacle of exuberance that showcases the tremendous talent pool roaming around that school.
The dancers alone are reason enough to see the show. I have seen a lot of really talented dancers swoop across that stage in the 18 years I’ve been attending these shows. But, I’ve never seen a troupe tap dance like this one does in the excellent “King of New York”. Bravo!
From the costumes and dialect to the newsprint program, the whole company worked hard to achieve its authenticity. Ben Frankhauser, who originated the role of Davey in the Broadway production, spent an entire day with the cast, which must have been thrilling, and nationally recognized dialect coach Adam Michael Rose worked with them for two days to help them talk like New York Newsies.
I saw no opening night jitters as each of the leads nailed their roles.
As then Governor Theodore Roosevelt says in the play, “Each generation must, at the height of its power, step aside and invite the young to share the day.”
Last night’s show provided more proof that if we are brave enough to allow our youth to share the day, we find ourselves in excellent company.
The show also showcases the power of the written word and that message never gets old. On a side note, I loved reading the cleverly printed program and it felt good to hold a nice, thick newspaper again. As always, if you go to this show, take the time to read the insightful director’s notes.
My friend Catherine McKenzie took some amazing photos of the play, which, like all Parker Productions, is double cast. So, enjoy this little taste of the show (shared with her permission) and then click on this link to order tickets for the show.
Now is the time to Seize the Day. Answer the call and don’t delay!
These are the Cast A pictures. I saw this cast last night and thought they were excellent.
And these are cast B. I’m seeing them next Saturday and I can’t wait.