What if a pirouette could bring world peace? What if a cartwheel could change the world? What if people read actual newspapers made of actual paper?
No, it wouldn’t take a miracle for that to happen, it would just take the hit Broadway musical, “Newsies.”
Nominated for eight Tony Awards today including the coveted “Best Musical,” this unlikely show about unlikely kids defying the odds is having headline-grabbing success at the box office and with critics.
“Newsies” is the more or less true story of a paperboy strike in New York City in the summer 1899. It was sort the Occupy Wall Street of its time, with much better dancing.
While most of the teen and 20-something cast members of the Broadway show admit to rarely reading newspapers — they get their information from Facebook and Twitter, they say — they do think the show has struck a chord with their audience.
“We feel so blessed to be part of a show that celebrates this kind of thing that’s going on in our world,” said 19 year-old Jess Le Protto, who plays Buttons, one of the tumbling, jumping, spinning newsboys that makes the show a delight to watch.
The show has a complicated history. It is adapted from the 1992 Disney film of the same name, that was something of a box office flop. The movie starred a pre-Batman Christian Bale, who seems more comfortable fighting crime in tights than singing and dancing.
“I don’t ever want to do a musical… ever again,” he told ABC News a few years ago.
But the show did resonate with the VHS crowd and kids watching the Disney Channel on cable. (The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.)
“If I could tell one thing to Christian Bale,” said Jeremy Jordan, who reprises Bale’s Jack Kelly in the Broadway show, “I would say, try to not to be ashamed of your musical past.”
Disney said there was nothing short of a public outcry for a stage version.
“This is the only example, certainly at Disney theatrical and one of the few I can think of anywhere, where the audience decided they wanted this musical,” said Thomas Schumacher, president of the Disney Theatrical Group.