Monday, October 17, 2011
Newsies: AKA: Extra, Extra, Newsies FINALLY Get's a Stage Production...Sort Of...
I mean I get that some lines, most specifically, "He'll be covering, Brooklyn to Trenton, our man Denton", seeing as the replaced Bryan Denton, ace war corespondent, with Katherine Pulitzer, however did they half to change like 90% of the lyrics? Most of the lines they changed didn't need to be, and the changes also made them sound more violent. It may sound weird but half the time, the lyrics were changed to something about being out for blood, or "making them pay"...um really Disney? It was as if I was listening to parodies of the songs, the music was the same, but the lyrics were almost completely different. Aside from the music, "Seize the Day" was almost unrecognizable and to be honest I found it really distracting. That being said, if you have never seen the movie, or only seen it once or twice I don't suppose it will really bother you.
While I was not happy with the axing of our beloved Denton, played by the insanely awesome Bill Pullman in the film, they needed a love interest for Jack, because let's face it Sarah, played by Ele Keats, was just awful. And for the most part I liked Katherine, in fact I thought her solo in act one, "Write it Good" was great, however I did have a couple of issues with her role. The major one being, although they do not specifically say it in play so I'm basing this the movie prologue/history, the newsies strike occurred in 1899, and I don't care who's daughter she is, there WOULD NOT be a female reporter. I know they tried explaining it away by saying she wrote for the society pages, but no. I just don't buy that any newspaper would hire her. Also she kept calling the newsies, Jack included, "kids". How old is she then? And if she's really that much older then them, it's a bit creepy that she's ends up with Jack then.
I also feel like, aside from Crutchy and Les, who's roles definitely grow from the film, the rest of the newsies were reduced to kick ass background dancers. The dancing was amazing, but I had no idea who anyone, aside from Specs, was. Spot Conlon, one of my fave characters from the film, was reduced to a bit part really. Even Davey's part was drastically slashed, there was almost nothing left to the friendship between him and Jack.
Jack's role was turned into a tortured artist loner. Was I the only one thinking that in a few years he was going to grow up and end up on the Titanic when they started that whole, "Jack's a fabulous artist" plot line? Seriously, the timeline could work...and I find that extremely funny considering Christian Bale was in strong contention to play Jack Dawson in James Cameron's 1997 film.
I guess they need something to replace the whole "Francis Sullivan" storyline from the movie, though I'm not sure why they took that out. After all it makes a pretty powerful moment when Davey stands up to Jack for turning against them. I also didn't like that Jake never seemed to be part of the group. Jack is their leader, he rallies them, lifts their spirits, he is the face of the strike, however in the show he's always off on his own, he's not even their to celebrate in Jacob's Deli (what replaced Tibby's in the stage version), during "King of New York". It almost doesn't make sense that the newsies are asking for him at the rally. I also didn't really care for the fact that he kept waltzing into Pulitzer's office, it took away the power of having Pulitzer ask for him in the end.
I'm not sure why they decided to start the show off with "Santa Fe". I read some one comparing beginning Newsies with "Santa Fe" like beginning West Side Story with "Tonight", which I agree with. Then again the song was once again almost unrecognizable so I guess it shouldn't matter then.
I HATE the set. It was boring, well to me anyways. It was just a bunch of metal platforms which move about, which is fine, but ever since Next to Normal did it, I feel I've seen it done a hundred times over. It's not that I'm a huge traditionalist when it comes to sets, um hello there were a few years in the past where I practically lived at RENT, but I am just sick of this metal platform phase.
Over all it was a good show, full of campy Disney fun...but it wasn't Newsies...