When The Newsies first came out to movie theaters in 1992, it was well known as a massive financial and commercial flop. The star of the movie, Christian Bale, was said to have hated the movie so much that he reportedly wouldn’t talk or even acknowledge its existence in his acting career (but between you and me Christian should thank his lucky stars that the Newsies was a flop otherwise it wouldn’t have given him the drive to improve himself as an actor and therefore be an Oscar winner today – but that’s a different story).
Fast forward a couple of decades and the Newsies became a massive cult classic… what started as a flop in movie theaters across the country became a cult classic when put on VHS and DVD (I know I’m guilty of that). So when it came out that Disney Theatrical was working on a musical version of the beloved movie, the general consensus was cautiously positive and with just cause because the movie did not do well how would a stage production fare?
So Disney got smart, they tested the show out of town to positive reviews, reworked a few things here and there and brought it to Broadway on a limited but open ended engagement. Next thing you know it has been a packed house ever since.
Being a Newsies fan I was intrigued with the concept of the stage production and so far liked what I saw. However, knowing that some pieces of the storytelling got changed or rearranged, songs got cut others got added in, I was reasonably apprehensive. Was Disney selling out the integrity of the story in favor of catering to a larger audience? I didn’t quite know what to think, so originally I decided to wait until the soundtrack came out to make my decision of whether to see the show live or not… originally.