I bought my ticket to the filmed version of Newsies the day after tickets were available. After a disappointing summer of trying to get my parents to take me to Los Angeles to see Newsies at the Pantages, I knew that this was the universe giving me a second chance.
I had learned about Newsies through my college suitemate. Her childhood friend is Anthony Rosenthal (YES, from Falsettos), and he was Les on one of the Newsies tours, which she said she had seen like seven times. I had heard “Watch What Happens” probably once on a random Spotify channel, but I did not fully immerse myself into the Newsies world until this past summer, where I listened to the entire album on the way home from a road trip, and I lost my mind when I heard how amazing “King of New York” was. I was hooked! The Newsies original cast recording was pretty much the only album I listened to this past summer. I listened to “Carrying the Banner” on my way to summer school every morning. I could not get enough.
Here is a promo for the live-action musical if you want to get nostalgic about things and Jeremy Jordan:
I followed every Newsie on social media when I was doing my original research on Newsies. I tried to plan a trip to the Pantages, but it just didn’t work out. I was crushed. They were nearing their final tour stops, and I felt like my chance to see Newsies was completely slipping away.
I don’t remember when it was announced, but I remember being extremely excited that they were filming a show at the Pantages and bringing back the original cast. That just doesn’t happen every day. My friend, a devoted Jeremy Jordan fan, pretty much cried when I told him. We were going to get to see Newsies after all.
I picked February 18th to see the movie. It was the weekend before my birthday, and I chose to see it at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The whole plan was a dream come true. When I was in 6th grade, I figured out that the El Capitan Theatre was where all of the Disney movies had their premiere, and the Jonas Brothers would have their 3D concert movie premiere there as well. Again, I tried to get my parents to take me, but they were not excited at the idea of taking their 12-year-old daughter to a Hollywood movie premiere, so I didn’t get to go.
It took 8 years, but for my 20th birthday I got to go to the El Capitan Theatre and Disney Soda Fountain! I have driven down Hollywood Boulevard, but I have never been able to walk around it. When I was younger, the contrast of the daytime grimyness with Hollywood movie nightlife was so interesting, but again, my parents were extremely repulsed by it, so we never got out of the car in Hollywood. So I took myself! I took a Lyft to Hollywood, walked around a few stores, and pretty much stood in awe underneath the marquee of the theatre. I was so happy that I was finally living out my childhood dream of walking the streets of Hollywood Boulevard – and get this, the stands for the Oscars were going up too! Lots of exciting Hollywood things happening and I was in the center of it all.
I bought VIP tickets, and the experience was so amazing. I got my own popcorn bucket and soda, and when the usher took me to my seat, he told me I had the best seat in the house. (It was seat DD in the first row of the balcony, for future reference). I nearly cried. One of the ushers asked me if it was my first time at the theatre because I had audibly gasped at the interior and promotional Newsies image projection. It was like the first time I had walked into the Pantages Theatre and was crying looking at my Hedwig Playbill. (Ugh, Hedwig was so amazing. Good times).
The theatre filled up pretty quickly, and when the lights came on during intermission, people around me were crying. Heck, I got a little misty-eyed during most of the songs, but these people were wiping away tears!
My heart swelled during my favorite numbers. “Carrying the Banner,” “The World Will Know,” and “Once and For All.” Jeremy Jordan said that the filmed edition of “Something To Believe In” was different than their original performance and had a different feeling, and it WAS SO EMOTIONAL! Kara Lindsay is extremely talented and that entire song made me swoon.
(Side note: I really love Corey Cott. I have cried while scrolling through his Instagram, out of happiness. I wish I could have seen him as Jack Kelly. Best wishes for Bandstand. I hope I can see that one!)
For pretty much the entire movie, I kept thinking, “WHERE is Tommy Bracco?!” One of the most popular Newsies and he wasn’t even showing up! Then he had such an intense introduction scene during “Brooklyn’s Here” and I was like “Oh, there’s Tommy Bracco!” He was really good.
I don’t know why I didn’t understand who Ben Fankhauser played in Newsies. I knew his role was more of a lead, but for some reason it was just not registering with me. Then I remembered the plot of the original Newsies movie, and I realized he was the character who seemed to be a complete opposite of Jack Kelly. It made sense. I think Ben Fankhauser plays Davey extremely well. Like, that boy should have a Tony already. I wish I could have seen him in Beautiful, but again, I was not living in LA at that time. Oh well.
I almost screamed when the children of the big publishers (Hearst, etc.) introduced themselves to the Newsies and said “Happy to be apart of this revolution!” I really almost screamed. I was so surprised! I grew up going to the Hearst Castle and for some reason seeing the children of the big businessmen add their voice with the Newsies was so heartwarming and overwhelming.
Before the film, Kenny Ortega had filmed a video message saying how proud he was of the show, and how the original Newsies film was his first film, and THAT made me tear up. I have grown up watching Kenny Ortega’s movies and they are so dear to me.
It was such a great weekend. I think the movie is definitely one of the best musicals that I have ever seen. It was my first Disney musical too!
Well, I am another year older and there is life to live. One of my favorite lyrics from “Once and For All” is “You’re getting to old to need to keep holding on.” I’m not going to analyze it at this moment because I should be working on my own American literature analysis project BUT I will say that every time, that line catches me by surprise and I feel a little pang in my heart.
I’m taking a little break from seeing shows because I have to save some money for my summer housing plans and life in general. I think the next show I am definitely seeing is Book of Mormon, and then during the summer HOPEFULLY Hamilton, and in January it’s finally my time to see Aladdin with Adam Jacobs! I have been following Aladdin on Broadway for like three whole years, and I can’t wait to actually see it! I wanted to see Rodney Ingram in Aladdin because he was featured in this great NBC News article about Latinos on Broadway, but he JUST left Aladdin and now I am a sad fan. BUT happy trails, my pal! And CTGLA just announced that Bright Star and Something Rotten are coming next year! I think I will finally get to see my favorite, Adam Pascal!
Now is the time to seize the day!