Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The newsies have arrived at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, and they won’t leave until you’re thoroughly amazed! Well, technically, Newsies runs through Dec. 31 before transferring to Everett, but you’ll want to buy your tickets early for this all-ages spectacle.
Fans of Disney and Broadway may be familiar with the multi-Tony and Drama Desk Award winning musical based on the 1992 film. Inspired by the actual events of the Newsboy’s Strike of 1899, Newsies focuses on the plight of the newsies, a ragtag group of orphaned, homeless children who sell newspapers to survive. Led by charismatic leader Jack Kelly, they go on strike after the price of newspapers rise by 10 cents. It’s a small amount by today’s standards but serves as an example of the period’s systemic abuse of children in the city.
Directed by artistic director, Steve Tomkins, the 2-hour musical flies by with a thrilling score by Alan Menken and exhilarating choreography by Village veteran Katy Tabbs. Scenic designer Christopher Mumaw transforms the Issaquah stage into the grimy underbelly of New York City in 1899. The set effortlessly transitions from the urban city streets to the office of Joseph Pulitzer and the glitzy vaudeville theater of Medda Larkin. Costumes by Cynthia Savage and lighting designed by Aaron Copp complete the theater magic in a spectacular show.
Joey Barreiro reprises his role as Jack Kelly after appearing as Kelly in the first national tour of Newsies. The massive cast list includes Taylor Niemeyer as Katherine, a feisty female writer who breaks the story of the newsies’ protest and aids their efforts along the way. Fans of previous Village Theatre productions will recognize familiar faces (underneath some heavy “dirty” make-up), but many new actors to the Village stage support an ensemble-led production. Guthrie Greenwood Bettinger charms audiences as Les, and he’s only in eighth grade!
Newsies is a dance extravaganza with strong vocals and acting. Tabb’s choreography showcases the dance, gymnastic, and acrobatic talents of a cast representing the performance talent of the Northwest. You’ll dread the inevitable closing curtain.
Despite the Disney name, Newsies avoids the stereotypical Disney prince/princess story line. “It’s David and Goliath, do or die,” as Katherine observes — an underdog story with men soaring through the air, executing backflips, and dancing on top of newspapers. The Village Theatre’s production of Newsies arrives in time for the holiday season, and it’s a treat for the entire family.
Tickets can be purchased online, and you can watch it again for half the price.