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Disney "Newsies" takes its final bow on Broadway before beginning its North American tour

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Disney "Newsies" takes its final bow on Broadway before beginning its North American tour

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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.

Photo by Nancy Stadler

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 release 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 productions.

Photo by Nancy Stadler

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.

"Newsies" curtain 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 acts.

Luca Padovan (L) and Zachary Unger (R) frame Ben Fankhauser as he takes
his final bow. Photo by Nancy Stadler

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 Stadler

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 are here."

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 1005 performance."

Photo by Jim Hill

"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 you."

Photo by Nancy Stadler

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 ...

Photo by Nancy Stadler

... 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.

Photo by Nancy Stadler

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 America.

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.

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