Broadway Grand Rapids brings ‘Newsies’ to DeVos Performance Hall

Story by Megan Sarnacki
Photo Courtesy of Broadway Grand Rapids

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! From September 22 to the 27, Disney’s hit musical Newsies took center stage at DeVos Performance Hall. The touring company delivered a spectacular performance full of energy and excitement. Newsies certainly seized the audience’s attention from the opening number and did not let go until the curtain went down.

Based on the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, the show focuses on Jack Kelly (Dan DeLuca) and his newspaper-delivering posse. Once the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer (Steve Blanchard), increases the price of newspapers, the Newsies demand change and decide to take action. They create their own union and go on a strike until prices are lowered. Seeing this strike as an opportunity to be taken seriously, journalist Katherine Plummer (Stephanie Styles) decides to help the newsies by writing an article about their protest.  By overcoming obstacles and recruiting all the newsies in New York to join forces, Jack and his friends win the battle against Pulitzer.

The enormous set was constructed of three three-story towers of metal scaffolds. Each story had a screen that came down in certain scenes to provide vivid pictures, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Jack’s sketch of Katherine, and a photograph of the newsies protesting. As Katherine typed her article at her desk, the words also appeared on the screens, delivering an interesting visual effect for the audience. The lights, props, and costumes enriched the atmosphere of the time period, reminding the audience when and where the scene is taking place.

However, the real kings of New York were of course the Newsies. It did not take long for the audience to start to root for these boys and fall in love with their comedic charm. The Newsies danced into the hearts of the audience by showcasing their variety of skillsets. Not only did they flip and turn, but they also tapped and danced on newspapers. While the high-energy numbers excited the audience, the powerful ballads supported the scenes with nothing but their strong voices. For the majority of every scene, DeLuca was on stage singing and dancing, leaving the audience to wonder how he does it all. The fiery chemistry between DeLuca and Styles provided a cute love story on the side, along with some laughs.

With something for everyone to enjoy, Disney’s Newsies was a treat for all ages. It was definitely one of the most entertaining shows Broadway Grand Rapids has seen in awhile. Although Newsies is no longer on stage at DeVos Performance Hall, you can check out the rest of the Broadway Grand Rapids’s season by looking at their website.

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