“Newsies” establishes a new precedent for movie musicals


Courtesy of Playbill.com

Disney’s “Newsies: The Broadway Musical” was initially set to show only on Feb. 16, 18 and 22, an extra day was added on Mar. 4.

Alexandra Weitzman

Playing for a limited time only, Disney’s “Newsies: The Broadway Musical” premiered on the big screen for four days. Although the show was initially set to show only on Feb. 16, 18 and 22, an extra day was added on Mar. 4, totaling box office sales to $3.47 million, according to Playbill.com.

Unlike the majority of movie musicals, “Newsies” was captured live on stage, filmed on Sept. 11, 2016 at the Pantages Theatre in California in front of an invited audience. Jeremy Jordan reprised his role as Jack Kelly along with other original Broadway cast members and performers from the North American tour.  

Instead of using celebrities only to gain popularity, “Newsies” featured actors who are specifically trained for a live stage setting. This allowed viewers sitting in the movie theater to experience the same passion from the performers as they would sitting in orchestra seats on Broadway. When Jordan sang “Santa Fe,” viewers could hear and feel the intensity of his performance and see the sweat dripping off his face.

Additionally, the intricate dance numbers were highlighted efficiently with various shot compositions. The close-up of the performers’ feet as they danced on newspapers during “Seize the Day” not only gave a creative perspective but also enhanced the performance.

“Newsies” established a new precedent for movie musicals in pop culture. The film brought a level of energy and passion that could only be attributed to the traditional  set on stage with the original Broadway and North American tour actors. Between the dance numbers, vocals and the actors’ ability to transport audience members back to the Newsboy Strike of 1899, “Newsies” exploded with talent. Never again will celebrity-filled movie musicals with shortened and altered scripts fulfill the desires of theatre lovers everywhere.