“Newsies” choreography takes center stage in Minneapolis


Photo Courtesy of Newsies Press Release

Newsies is a run-of-the mill Broadway story brought to life by show-stopping dance and raw talent in the cast.

Leo Driessen, Reviews Editor

Seminal Broadway Musical “Newsies” features exceptionally tight choreography and technical aspects to fawn over, but lacks the heart and emotional depth necessary to make a significant impact on all audience members. The “Newsies” national tour came to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis on February 9, 2016 to show audiences that superficial plots can still sell out theaters. At certain points of the musical, several select audience members around me were crying and were going through “the feels” when I, on the other hand, couldn’t have been farther away from feeling “the feels.”

Somehow, “Newies” has a power over certain people manipulating them into thinking that the show is, for lack of a better word, good. The plot of Newsies is exactly what you’d expect from Disney: basic and unoriginal. A group of people, in this case, young men selling newspapers or “Newsies,” are being oppressed by their company and have to come together to fight for what’s right. While the story is rooted in history, and is powerful itself, the actors failed to give the story gravity and emotion. Thankfully, the show redeems itself and overcomes its weak plot, script, and score with its infectious dance numbers, production elements, and talent within the cast.

Often times, musicals have several standout minor characters that end up stealing the show, but the strongest performances from the cast of “Newsies” came from the leads. Protagonist Joey Barreiro played protagonist Jack Kelly and nailed his comedic timing, and also delivered strong performances in his singing and dancing—a true triple threat. The only problem with Barreiro’s portrayal of Jack Kelly was a lack of believability and sincerity in his character.

The choreography and the sheer talent of the entire ensemble was infectious and were the only moments of the play that gave me chills.”

— Leo Driessen

Morgan Keene played Katherine and half succeeded and half failed at her role of being a strong female lead. There were moments where Katherine showed a little girl power, and the audience would cheer her on for doing her work to dismantle the patriarchy— telling a guy to shut up.

However, graciously overlooked by these same audience members are the instances where Katherine is entirely absorbed by men, something not so typical among strong female leads. The choreography and the sheer talent of the entire ensemble was infectious and were the only moments of the play that gave me chills.

Something noticeable about the ensemble’s portrayal of the newsies of the time period was the New York accents. On occasion, the actors lost their diction and projection because of their accents made it difficult to hear what the actor was saying. Maybe that was just because our seats were in the very back on the balcony, but either way, it caused me to lose several jokes.

It seems like “Newies” was a hit for everyone but me. Call me a snob, call me cynical, call me picky. Musicals have the power to change people’s view of the world and educate them, and I feel like “Newsies” had that opportunity and blew it. That being said, the newsies blew it with style.