Sunday, June 3, 2012

And The News Is The Same (Stage Review: Newsies)

I dislike most things Disney. there, I said it. I know that for some people, that is just like saying "I am the Anti-Christ," bet be that as it may. So even though "Newsies" opened with hype of all hypes, I was still resisting it. And after seeing it, I liked it. But I wasn't totally wowed, and I thought its appeal was infectious. It has a heart, and even though it is beating and alive, I thought it was made from synthetic problems. Based on the same Disney movie (which I thought was insufferably bad) the book, by Harvey Fierstein was adapted for the Broadway stage. The music, by Alan Menken, and the lyrics, by Jack Feldman are catchy, and appropriate, but I felt like it has been test-marketed and sliced and diced by the most rigid Disney standards. While I like it, the whole score, to me, sounds like one song: tuneful, then it goes to soar. Then add to the mix a robust choreography by Christopher Gattelli and performed to athletic perfection by young men as if they are are auditioning for "So You Think You Can Dance." (I hear some dancers are graduates from that show, anyway) The ingredients all add up to a perfect stew, but maybe that is what I don't like about it - there is no roughness, no surprise, no edge. Well, sort of like something Disney. Jeremy Jordan, as Jack Kelly, is charismatic, but I thought his performance is by-the-numbers, and I actually preferred him in last year's flop, "Bonnie & Clyde."  Capathia Jenkins is great in her one-note number, and Kara Lindsay looks pretty and generic as the leading lady. Like I said, everything here is so matchey matchey and nicey nicey that it makes for a nice wholesome evening. For a lot of people, that is Broadway. It's only part-time for me. 

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