Monday, November 6, 2017

REVIEW: Nuanced Newsies Makes Marriott Theatre Hot Holiday Destination

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Disney's Newsies at Marriott Theatre
Through December 31

Newsies runs approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.

Marriott's Newsies is a fabulous feel good story on the power of protest. Who doesn't enjoy an underdog tale, especially one based on actual events and involving a scrappy, determined group of poor children triumphing over filthy rich New York media moguls. I also adore the early feminist plot line, where Eliza Palasz as “Katherine Plumber” defies her famous father and proves that women can write serious news stories and change history.

Patrick Rooney as “Jack Kelly” is a standout as well. We also enjoyed the spirited performances of some of the smallest cast members, long time Chicago favorites, Matthew Uzarraga (Crutchie) and Zachary Uzarraga (Les or Hot Shot, Ensemble).  

I loved the set design (Kevin Depinet), from the clotheslines extending outward over the audience, to the clever, multi level pieces, descending or ascending to the ceiling as needed, to alter the theatre in the round staging. As always, Marriott Theatre's casting is superb and the choreography catchy and creative (Director and Choreographer Alex Sanchez)

In our current, union busting political climate, where income disparity is bigger than ever, Newsies is a timely choice. There's strength in numbers, and wrongs can be redressed by a vocal group of protestors. The pen is mightier than the sword and can be wielded well by a woman, the lowliest day job may be held by a talented artist (so don't judge), and advocates and allies can come in unlikely packages, like feathers and corsets.

This is a great pick for multigenerational appeal and family friendly memory making. It's also a clever clutter busting gift idea just in time for the holidays. 

It was our pleasure to review the Broadway touring production last year, and Marriott Theatre's take on this Tony Award-winning musical gives the Broadway show a run for the money. This energetic production is a holiday must see. Highly recommended.

"Stop the presses! Newsies is an irresistible, high energy winner... a surprise sensation!"
- Entertainment Weekly

"A musical worth singing about"
- The New York Times

"An invigorating extravaganza! A barnstorming, four-alarm delight"
- Time Out New York


From the bustling streets of New York City at the turn of the 20th century comes the Tony Award-winning new American musical, NEWSIES, making headlines at the Marriott Theatre just in time for the holidays, running October 25 through December 31 with a press opening on Wednesday, November 1 at 8 p.m. at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. Featuring an electrifying score with music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, NEWSIES is the ultimate story of courage and overcoming one’s fears. Jeff Award nominee Alex Sanchez (Marriott Theatre: Evita, On the Town, Mary Poppins) brings his high-octane energy and brilliance to direct and choreograph the heartwarming piece, with Musical Direction by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson.

“We all get to a fork in our lives - which path do we choose? I want to inspire audiences to not be afraid to take the courageous path and strive for the unreachable,” says Director and Choreographer Alex Sanchez. “This story will be brought to life on stage with a plethora of energy bursting from our outstanding cast of dancers. Incredible set design will flow with the ensemble to provide a city landscape as vibrant as New York.”

Based on the 1992 motion picture of the same name and inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899’ that shook the ivory towers of publishing titans William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, NEWSIES follows orphan Jack Kelly and his band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dream of a better life far from the hardships of the streets. While they’ve had the talent and moxie to survive the challenges of inner city New York, the newsboys are pushed to the limit when media moguls Hearst and Pulitzer raise distribution prices at the boys’ expense. Timely and fresh, the fictionalized adaptation of NEWSIES addresses age-old themes of social injustice, exploitative labor practices and struggles as the young learn to harness their power against a corrupt establishment. Featuring soul stirring music, NEWSIES introduces eight brand-new songs by the original dynamic duo team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York” and “Santa Fe.”

NEWSIES stars Patrick Rooney as “Jack Kelly” (Marriott Theatre: World Premiere of October Sky, Spring Awakening), Eliza Palasz as “Katherine Plumber” (Marriott Theatre: World Premiere of October Sky, Evita, Spring Awakening), Kevin Gudahl as “Joseph Pulitzer” (Marriott Theatre: Spring Awakening, Elf, My Fair Lady, 1776, The King and I) and Stephanie Pope at “Medda Larkin” (Broadway: Chicago, Pippin, Fosse). NEWSIES also stars Nick Graffagna as “Davey,” Matthew Uzarraga as “Crutchie,” and Carter Graf and Zachary Uzarraga alternating as “Les,” with Bill Bannon, Eean Cochran, Shea Coffman, Nicholas Dantes, Alejandro Fonseca, Sam Griffin, Garrett Lutz, Jeff Pierpoint, Zachary Porter, Liam Quealy, James Rank, Laura Savage, Peter Sipla, Adrienne Storrs, Steven Strafford, Richard Strimer, Martin Ortiz Tapia, Tiffany Tatreau, Andy Tofa and David Wright, Jr.

The production will feature set design by Kevin Depinet, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Robert E. Gilmartin, properties design by Sally Weiss, and musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood.

The performance schedule for NEWSIES is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Holiday weeks may have adjusted schedules. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, including tax and handling fees. Call for student, senior and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of FREE dinners available with the purchase of a full-priced theatre ticket, which can only be purchased through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. 

To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to Visit for more information.

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