You'd think -- what with "Newsies" Broadway run
coming to a close this past Sunday afternoon -- that the crowd outside of the
Nederlander Theatre would have been a bit blue.
Photo by Nancy Stadler
But that wasn't really the case. The folks who were lined up
along 41st Street yesterday
were there for a celebration of the little show that could.
Because you have to remember that "Newsies" was
never ever supposed to go to Broadway. When Disney Theatrical originally
mounted this musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse back in September 2011, the whole
point was to prove that a stage version of this 1992 Walt Disney Pictures
was viable. All the Mouse was really looking to do here was create a
show that they could then license for regional, college and high school
But then something extraordinary happened. The pilot production of
"Newsies" got such strong reviews that -- on November 16, 2011 -- Disney Theatrical decided
to bring this show to Broadway for a limited run. But demand for tickets was so
strong that Mickey was eventually forced to extend "Newsies" run from
just 101 performances to ... Well, yesterday afternoon.
Jack Feldman (center of
photo, pink shirt) chats with friends outside of the Nederlander Theatre. Photo
by Jim Hill
Which is why Tony Award-winner Jack Feldman (i.e., the lyricist for
"Newsies") was all smiles as he stood outside of the Nederlander on
Sunday, chatting with friends. He knew the sort of crowd that had turned out
for this show's final Broadway performance.
call begins. Photo by Nancy Stadler
And it was in fact a very affectionate & appreciative
crowd that turned out to see "Newsies" this past Sunday afternoon.
This audience -- which featured many members of the show's original cast --
gave the show no less than five standing ovations over the course of its two
Luca Padovan (L) and Zachary
Unger (R) frame Ben Fankhauser as he takes his final bow. Photo by Nancy
But as Geoffrey Chaucer once said, all good things must come
to an end. And as "Newsies" curtain calls got underway, the noise in
the Nederlander just got louder & louder ...
The adult members of the ensemble
take the stage. Photo by Nancy Stadler
... and louder.
The cast of Disney
"Newsies" acknowledge the talented team of musicians down in the pit.
Photo by Nancy Stadler
The roar from the crowd became positively deafening when
"Newsies" creative team took to the stage.
Jack Calhoun -- the director of this Tony
Award-winning show -- whipped out a digital camera and quickly took a picture
of this very appreciative audience. Photo by Nancy
It was only when the President & Producer of Disney Theatrical came onstage
that all of the cheering & applauding began to subside. This obviously
moved man began his remarks by introducing himself to the crowd: "I am Tom
Schumacher and I am officially a mess. And I am so grateful that so many of you
Photo by Jim Hill
"In 1899, a kid named Kid Blink threw down his
newspapers in Newsies Square
and demanded a square deal and a fair shake. He wanted nothing more. In a way,
he got a version of it. 90 years later, my good friends Bob Tzudiker and Noni
White wrote a screenplay and my beloved Alan Menken wrote the songs, Kenny
Ortega directed the movie. And nobody came. But 20 years of clamshell videos
and DVDs and Disney Channel screenings, an entire generation demanded that Newsies
stay alive. And we thought 'What the hell. We'll put it onstage. We'll try it.'
And a very brave executive Steve Fickinger who fought to make that happen. And
then my beloved Harvey Fierstein joined us. And Alan & Jack wrote more
songs. And an extraordinary group of performers -- newsies, girlsies, oldsies
-- 82 people work every week. Onstage, backstage and around this to make
"Newsies" happen. And I am deepily grateful to all of you. Originally,
"Newsies" only came to Broadway for 101 performances. Tonight is our
"And then there's the other component of this show. Which is our fansies.
You are a shocking bunch. And as we close this chapter of Newsies and go into
rehearsals in two weeks for a national tour -- please come see us -- what I can
promise you is that never, and I'm predicting in our lifetime, will there be a
night where "Newsies" is not playing somewhere in the world. Because what
has been created -- what this extraordinary group of creatives, our beautiful
designer, and our cast -- the cast up here and the cast out there -- is
indelible. And the little Leses will grow up to play Jack. And Jack will grow
up to play Pulitzer. Because that it was what happens in the theater.
Transition. We move on. We go. I am so grateful that you all enjoyed the show.
I am so desperately grateful. I love you all in so many different ways. Thank
And with the conclusion of Schumacher's speech, there were hugs all around. And
once the cast slipped backstage to get out of their costumes ...
... the colorful lights that once illuminated "Newsies" Broadway set
slowly faded out ...
Photo by Nancy Stadler
... until all that was left to illuminate the stage of the
Nederlander Theatre was a single ghost light.
If you missed the Broadway production of Disney
"Newsies," not to worry. The National Tour of this Tony
Award-winning show gets underway on October 11th in Schenectady,
NY. And over the 2014-15 season, this 43
week-long tour will take "Newsies" to 25 cities around North
Be sure and check out the little show that could if it comes
to your neck-of-the-woods. Based on the reaction of the crowd at the
Nederlander this past Sunday, you'll be very, very glad you did.