By Chris Heide
Newsies is a high-octane, well executed and expertly produced musical. Much like the 5th Avenue Theatre did with Ragtime, the Village Theatre has managed to produce an accessible musical that is timely and relevant. The best, most resonating, art is that which can hold a mirror to the greatest inequities and injustices of society through its powerfully creative platform.
Newsies tells the story of of Jack Kelly, a charmingly cocky orphan, who sells newspapers for a major publication, along with a group of similarly down-on-their-luck men. When the newspaper decides to raise the cost of the paper, resulting in further financial hardship for these Newsies, Jack and his friends decide to revolt and unionize against the dastardly and greedy newspaper owners. At its heart, Newsies is the story of David & Goliath, wrapped into the world of print journalism.
The classist themes and economic struggles are resounding apropos for modern society. Newsies feels extremely focused and political, which is surprising, given that it is a Disney musical.
Overall, the show is beautifully cast. Joey Barreiro is fantastic as Jack Kelly. Barreiro infuses his character with a relatable charm and wit, as well as he manages to hit all the high notes demanded of the role.
The show is most successful during the elaborate group and production numbers. The group vocals are beautifully harmonized, the sets are laish and the choreography is tight. Truthfully, the show only seems to drag during a few scenes of prolonged dialogue. Whenever another high-energy number begins, the show snaps back into focus. Particular highlights include "The World Will Know", "Santa Fe", and "Seize the Day".
With Newsies, the Village Theatre continues its tradition of producing impressively high quality musical theatre.