REVIEW: Broadway’s ‘Newsies’ brings New York City to town

The cast of Newsies at Wichita Theatre. Photo courtesy Wichita Theatre.

Whether you enjoy musical theater or not, Wichita Falls’ production of Disney’s Newsies the Broadway musical is a must see.

‘Newsies’ the musical follows the inspiring story of the newsboys’ hawkers of New York in 1899. The newsboys begin helping each other to lead a strike against the Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of New York World. In order to revolt against the high distribution cost of the newspaper and addressing the unfair treatment of child laborers in New York City.

‘Newsies ‘ is the stage adaptation based on the 1992 Disney film and is the Wichita Theatre first production of the season. This is a spectacular show that has the power to impress all everyone from fans of the original film to first-time viewers. Many individuals contributed to the making of ‘Newsies’ possible, director Chance Harmon and the youthful cast of 55 singers and dancers, show the profound amount of talent that Wichita Falls has to offer.

Playing the lead role of the charismatic leader of the newsies Jack Kelly is Bryson Petersen. This musical offers Petersen to show off the variety of his talents such as acting, singing and dancing all throughout the show. There isn’t a moment during Petersen’s performance that doesn’t leave you speechless. He truly expresses his vocal range and ability to provoke emotions in the in the sentimental performance of the reprise “Santa Fe” that leaves the audience astounded.

We are later introduced to the brotherly duo of Davey and Les. Both play as Newsies looking for a way to make some extra income as their family is going through a tough time. They both later play major roles in encouraging the other newsies to band together. Luke Draper plays the role of Davey and delivers a powerful performance of Davey, who makes the practical and logical decisions for the group of newsboys. Draper uses his impressive singing in the reprise of “Watch What Happens” to captivate the audience and adds depth to the story. The bond between the two brothers cannot be broken. Les is played by Korbin Koker, who fully embodies the role of Les and delivers some of the best comical lines of the music that makes everyone in the audience laugh uncontrollably. Koker for as young as he is is able to put on a splendid performance that clearly represents the multiple talents that he possesses.

The effective plan to expose the truth of the harsh conditions that the newsboys work in is the work of Katherine Plumber played by both Amanda Jackson and Ashlen Loskot. Jackson’s incredible voice stands out and strongly portrays the clever and sharp-witted journalist that gets the article about the newsboys in the paper. She express just how powerful her singing is in her remarkable solo “Watch What Happens”. Loskot, in addition, offers another flawless portrayal of Katherine elegantly and demonstrates her talents in the breathtaking duet with Jack “Something To Believe In” that leaves the audience awed.

Throughout the show, the cast does an incredible job using the talents such as singing, dancing, tumbling, and tap dancing all together as an ensemble to fully enchant the audience. The music director, Chris Jarvis does superb using all of the ensemble voices as one in “Carrying the Banner” that leaves everyone in the audience stunned.

Further, the dancing that is impeccably choreographed by Stephanie Medenwald, assisted by Caitlyn Minuto. All of the cast meticulously dance throughout the show and perform the multiple styles of dance incorporating tumbling and tap dancing all over the stage in the numbers “Seize the Day” and “Kind of New York” that leaves an astounding presence of the audience by the mixture of dancing and singing.

From the moment you walk into the theater you are greeted by newsboys helping you find your seat. The Wichita Theatre uses all aspects of theater to express their passion for the arts and impact the experiences of everyone viewing. The theater fully engages the audience in the storyline and world of the Newsies. The special effects that are precisely created by the graphic designer, Casey Osborne with the use of projections and the majestic set design greatly impact the storytelling of the show. Other important elements such as the costumes and props both immerse the audience into the story. With the special effects and interactions with the audiences used in the musical are used to impact all members of the audience.

This is a great show for anyone and for all ages. The lively characters and dynamic storyline will attract the attention of everyone in the audience. You will be blown away by all the talent that is performed in the show. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see this production and upcoming shows.