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a Musical
by Harvey Fierstein (book), Alan Menken (music), Jack Feldman (lyrics)

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5330

SHOWING : July 19, 2018 - September 02, 2018



Inspired by the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, this high-energy musical soars with rousing dance numbers and non-stop thrills. In New York City at the turn of the century, publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst look to take advantage of newsboys to increase profits. Enter charismatic Jack Kelly who unwittingly leads a ragged band of teenaged "newsies," across the city to strike for what’s right. This Tony Award-winning musical, based on the timeless Disney film, is toe-tapping fun for the entire family.

Director Justin Anderson
Romeo/Spot Conlon Aaron Carter
Medda Larkin Mahalia Jackson
Jack Kelly Greg Kamp
Finch Sterling McClary
Nunzio/Snyder Robby Owenby
Albert Joseph Jong Pendergrast
Seitz, Stage Manager, Policeman Daniel Pino
Mr. Jacobi, Teddy Roosevelt Al Stilo
Oscar, Darcy Benjamin Strickland
Wiesel, Mayor Randall Taylor
Bunsen, Policeman Kerwin Thompson
Katherine Plumber Adrianna Trachell
Crew/Ensemble Sarah Grace Valleroy
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Dance Fever
by playgoer
Monday, September 3, 2018
Luke Badura. Aaron Carter. Atarius Armstrong. Joseph Pendergrast. Peyton McDaniel. Zach Gamet. All these young men have mad dancing skills that are on full display in Aurora’s "Newsies." And it’s the dancing that truly makes the show. Ricardo Aponte showcases the talent of the dancers in his choreography, giving lots of chances for individual expression while also providing lots of synchronized movement. This is a dance show, front and center.

The story is adequately performed by the principals -- Greg Kamp as brash newsie Jack Kelly, Adrianna Trachell as ambitious reporter Katherine Plumber, and Stephan Jones as self-absorbed newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer. All have terrific voices, but none are sufficiently charismatic to carry the show. There are some very good performances in the more minor roles, though. Marcello Audino is very empathetic as Davey, forced into being a newsie to support his family, and Al Stilo, Robert Mitchel Owenby, and Randall Taylor impress in each of their two speaking roles (although Mr. Owenby doesn’t fit in particularly well when pressed into service as a newsie).

Justin Anderson has directed the show to make good use of the triple-level set designed by Shannon Roberts, with its view of a bridge in the distance flanked by tall brick buildings. Projections, designed by Milton M. Cordero, don’t always display well against the background, but do a good job showing headlines and ads on portions of the buildings reserved for projections. The set uses movable scaffolding and stairs, in what is becoming a standard practice for Aurora musicals, and the movement of these pieces and of María Cristina Fusté’s lights adds extra pizzazz to musical numbers.

Daniel Terry’s sound design is a tad on the loud side, allowing occasional trumpet anomalies to be evident, and it can be difficult to decipher words when the entire cast is singing at once. Nevertheless, Ann-Carol Pence’s musical direction is excellent overall.

Alan Yeong’s costumes work well to set the time period, as do Robert Miller-Navarre’s hair designs. Christopher Dills’ props run heavy on the side of newspapers and bags, but also work well. Bundles of newspapers being tossed livens several moments in the show.

Galen Crawley’s dialect coaching gives the proceedings a very New Yawk feel, and Anthony Rodriguez’s fight direction works relatively well in a strike-breaking sequence, although bringing in females dressed as newsie scabs doesn’t work particularly well in the intimate confines of the Aurora Theater.

"Newsies" is a thoroughly professional production, which is to be expected at Aurora, and the show is moving on to Marietta as a joint production with Atlanta Lyric Theatre. In terms of cast, direction, and production team, though, this is a quintessential Aurora show. Only above-par dancing gives an inkling of Atlanta Lyric’s involvement. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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