The NEWSIES Conquer The World!

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NEWSIES CARRY THE BANNER FRIDAY NIGHT!  
Photos Courtesy WPPAC by Kathleen Davisson

WPCNR STAGE DOOR. Theatrical Review by John F. Bailey. December 21:

The bluesy trumpet first notes seduce you into a tap-your-toe urban rhapsody as you gaze into the intrigue of endless tenement roofs receding to the horizon.

Newsies grabbed the first night audience Friday  with zip, zing and ginger at White Plains Performing Arts Center in its 16th season  in a rousing-fast-moving, never-a-lull revival of the Disney musical about the famous strike of the newsboys against The New York World when its publisher tried to cut their wages in half in 1899.

Dawn breaks over the spectacular “New Yawk” set—a cascading view into the tenements of turn-of-the-19th century lower East Side.  Waking up are Jack Kelly (the charming bad boy Alex Prakken) an in-your-face wiseguy with heart-winning sensitivity who sings his dreams  out front in a reverie, Santa Fe.

Then its off to Newsie Square to pick up The World, Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, for distribution and the newsies sing Carry the Banner, the best labor anthem since ‘Look for the Union Label” for the ILGWU (The International Garment Workers Union).

Meanwhile, high atop in his carpeted crag in The World Building, Pulitzer played with hubris malice and discusting greed by Mark Bradley Miller, decides to cut the Newsies wages, because the end of the Spanish American War has cut his circulation and his anthem The Bottom Line tells you all you need to know about capitalism in 1899 and capitalism in 2019.

The prices are relayed to the adorable lads, the newsies played with outstanding youth exuberance by the very age appropriate lads. Each is a personality you fall for—and many do star turns…tapdance to begin Act II when the audience is worried about the Newsies fate. You know this is going to work out, but you worry anyway. That’s how good this company works together, acts together and gives it their all every second.  

Enter the Lois Lane of 1899, the inquiring perky lady reporter Katherine, earnest confident Kristen Seggio, her first lead at the WPPAC.

Tough Guy Melts
Jack (ALEX PRAKKEN) the newsboy from the streets pays attention to no-nonsense reporter Katherine of The Sun. Ms. Seggio has the clever knack of showing her interest in him without showing her interest in him, shows good reporter concentration. Leans forward holding her attention on what he says. (Good technique).

She’s playing the romantic lead that is ancillary to Jack the organizer,  but is actually the woman who takes charge. Ms. Seggio showcases intelligence, pluck, inspiration, motivation,  her glittering soprano style reminds the audience the possibilities you can make come true  when she and Jack sing Something to Believe In.

She types up the interview on a typewriter, singing Watch What Happens, a great send up of the anxiety of a reporter trying to create  the perfect lead. She covers the Newsie  demonstration at The World building She writes it up for the New York Sun that publishes a great article on the strike.  

When the newsies are cleared out with violence by Pulitzer’s goons,  Pulitzer brings Jack back to try and make a deal with him, dropping charges, in return for talking the Newsies out of a strike.

Jack finds out the reporter Katherine has a secret identity. She is not who he thinks she is.  Jack flees the scene delivers the plea not to strike, (he is afraid more newsies will be hurt), 

Katherine searching for Jack finds him in Medda’s theatre where he paints sets. She sees yet another side of him. You can see where this is going. Ahhh, but you will love it! I’m just a romanticist. But if there is an scintilla of sentimentality that old Disney Magic will work on you, your kids, your girlfriend, they will love it.

Ms. Seggio shows her dancing chops fitting right in with the fabulous tap tempo of the newsies, getting their confidence back where they are recovering in Jacob’s Deli. The King of New York is a showstopper!

Ms. Seggio and Mr. Prakken on Jack’s rooftop hideaway, singing Something to Believe In  signature song of the show.

Ms. Seggio’s Katherine finds Jack at his rooftop retreat. He gets furious with her for misleading him. She tries to work out a plan to help the Newsies. And she gets his attention!

She invents a bold plan to get the Newsie’s story out to all the newsies in all the boroughs.

Does it work?

NEWSIES GETTING OUT THE STORY

Does she save the day?

Can a woman who has everything be happy with a homeless newsboy? What do you think?

The show even brings in the great Teddy Roosevelt, then Governor of New York in 1899.

This second act punches through to irresistible suspense, talent working together to put on a show. Newsies has the enthusiasm of the old Our Gang movies combined with the power of love to bring about that Happily Ever After. Newsies has been worked for all it has to offer in such an intimate, up-close and personal venue where “every seat is a box seat.”

I salute all the Newsies: Matt Oster, Nathan Cockroft, Talen Piner, Zach Eisenberg, Marcus Parfitt, Elijah Dillehay, Alec Gallazi, Timothy Matthew Flores, Casey Bagnall all involved, on their marks, relentlessly entertaining. They had the patrons of the theatre leaning forward when they went into their dances.

Josh Assor, Choreographer used every foot of the WPPAC proscenium and pushed the talent to execute a flawless procession of difficult close-in dance numbers that held audience attention.

The orchestra delivered the big crisp mound of sound worthy of the intense driving score flawlessly laying a good bed.Stephen Ferri the Conductor, pianist, with Ricky Romano, Philip Varricchio, David Salter, Ryan Resky (he of the trumpet solo), Art Triggs, Gary Capozziello, Andrew Borkowski, Lexi Bodick, Soe Spinelli, Spencer Inch.

Newsies  conquer the world for the next three weekends. It is a great show for children. An elixir for parents for the sadness of today. A history lesson about a true event. There really were Newsies back in that day that brought the media giants to cowtow.

Newsies even brings in the great Teddy Roosevelt.

Newsies is Bully!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Newsies plays through January 12 at the WPPAC. Go to wppac.com to note days and showtimes. Or telephone 914-328-1600

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