‘Newsies’: Stop the presses for this choreography

Newsies, a Disney Theatrical Production under the direction of Thomas Schumacher presents Newsies, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, book by Harvey Fierstein, starring Dan Deluca (Jack Kelly), Steve Blanchard (Joseph Pulitzer), Stephanie Style

Disney has taken the movie “Newsies” and turned it into a fantastic roller coaster ride with some of the most amazing choreography ever seen on stage. At times you feel you need to have a seat belt fastened for some of the dance numbers that never seem to stop.
The story is a loose version about the 1899 New York newsboy strike,
when publisher Joseph Pulitzer raises the paper’s rate 10 cents, creating an already hard sell an even harder one. Jack (pleasant with a good set of pipes from Dan DeLuca) gathers the delivery boys—made up mostly of orphans and homeless hungry kids—to strike and get a better deal than the bad one they already have.
The score by Alan Menken and Jack Geldman is listenable, but you won’t leave the theatre whistling any of the tunes. Harvey Fierstein wrote the stage version book.
Jeff Calhoun directs with a firm hand and keeps the production moving at break-neck speed.
The real stars of the show are Christopher Gattelli’s unrelenting, pulsating choreography. Any of the boys auditioning for this show must have had to have at least a 10-spin on-spot pirouette to qualify.
Tobin Ost’s awesome set creates the tenements and skyscrapers of Manhattan of that era with towering steel girders that keep moving throughout, changing the scene as needed for the moment. It keeps your attention—sometimes more than what’s going on onstage. There are spots of emptiness to the production that even this very talented cast can’t fill.
The story is there with little substance to grab on to—the dance numbers overwhelm and leave you breathless with an astonishing cast of dancers that deliver their message full blast.
“Newsies” is an evening of talented entertainment. Don’t worry about the plot just go and enjoy.
By Alan Merkin/Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein.
Where: Orpheum Theatre 1192 Market St., San Francisco
Through: March 15
Tickets: $50-250
For reservations and information: call 888-746-1799 or visit shnsf.com

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