This post is largely a response to this Entertainment Weekly article.
Heads up: This is likely to turn into a rant.
I was first introduced to Newsies when I received the DVD for my fourteenth birthday. I’ve seen it dozens of times since, have audio clips of it on my ipod, and probably know most of it by heart. I kind of like it. A lot.
I love the time period. I love newsboys. Love the costumes. Love the singing and dancing. Love the actors. Love the characters. Love Christian Bale in it. Love Jack Kelly.
So imagine my elation when I heard that Newsies was finding its way to the stage. The cult-fave was getting another chance in the limelight.
Now imagine my horror when I found out about the changes that were being made to it.
Especially the changes surrounding Jack. No longer a cowboy-in-the-making, eager to escape the city life and head west, Jack is now, wait-for-it, an artist. That’s right. AN ARTIST. I love artists as much as the next cultured person, but why would they totally overhaul his character like that?? They might as well have cut his character altogether and replaced him with another guy. It amounts to the same thing.
If that wasn’t enough, the song “Santa Fe” is being altered and will be sung as a duet by Jack and Crutchy in the opening of the show. Putting aside the sacrilegiousness (it’s a word) of this, I don’t see how it’s going to work with the new Jack character. Since he no longer has this “obsession” with the West, how does Santa Fe even come up? And how is he going to sing about it? He’s going to sing about painting it??
On to other changes, though it’s upsetting to see Bill Pulman’s reporter being replaced by a female journalist, it has the potential to be a better love story for Jack. Again, I don’t see how “King of New York” is going to work.
In short, like every Newsies fan, I hold the story very dear. I’m very wary of changes being made. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The only way to go forward is to think of it as a separate story that happens to revolve around the newsboy strike of 1899 – now I get two shows with all the elements I love 🙂
I can only hope that it’s a rousing success and won’t destroy the story too much.
And here’s some other clips from the movie: