1 The Mickey Mindset: Book Review: Newsies-Stories of the Unlikely Broadway Hit

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Newsies-Stories of the Unlikely Broadway Hit

Mitchell Stein- It’s hard to think that Newsies, a fantastic movie that inspired the smash-hit on Broadway of the same name was considered a flop back when it was initially released in 1992. It’s actually quite shocking to think that the great music by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman was actually won a Razzie that year for “Worst Original Song”!

Newsies: Stories of the Unlikely Broadway Hit journeys from the film adaption and how the movie was considered a major failure for Disney and how it disappeared from theaters only a couple of weeks after release. The movie was rediscovered by a generation of fans who watched it on the Disney Channel in the late 1990s and it became popular on VHS through this dedicated fan base.

The book shines light on the Newsies fans, dubbed as “Fansies” and how they all got together to request Disney to finally bring Newsies to a stage adaption, which is very much the actual story of the Newsies film. It’s exciting to hear of this tremendous and growing fan-base, and it makes me optimistic that there may be spawning fan-bases for other Disney “flops” such as The Lone Ranger or John Carter (which I personally wasn’t a fan of either, but I would be happy to hear of such a dedicated fan-base out there for those films).

No one expected Newsies: The Musical to be such a success, but eventually after many read-throughs, it went into previews and gained much acclaim. They decided to go ahead with it, as a short term, low-budget show. That’s when the show really boomed. Eventually, after much critical acclaim, the show became a tremendous success and Newsies finally got the respect it always deserved.

Author Ken Cerniglia moves even deeper into the story, with a brief history lesson of the Newsboy strikes in 1899 that inspired the film and stage adaption. He looks at the differences from the story to the film to the Broadway hit, and what was changed for what reasons. He shines on the behind-the-scenes looks at everything from film writers Bob Tzudiker and Noni White, composer Alan Menken, actors from both the film and stage, technical directors, and many pages dedicated to the wonderful Fansies.

Newsies is a classic example of a “David and Goliath” story, whereas the small ‘David’ newspaper boys stand up together as one against the “Goliath” news publishers, specifically Pulitzer and Hertz in the story, and conquer. It’s an inspiring journey and always reminded me to believe in yourself and standing up for what you believe in. It’s a great work of art and it’s good to see the recognition it deserves.

This book is fantastic from cover to cover. If you are a dedicated Fansie, saw the show, or never even heard of Newsies before, you should pick up this book and add it to your shelf. This book tells the inspiring story that proves that anything is possible.

Now I’m inspired to go back and give Newsies a rewatch!

No comments:

Post a Comment