|The cast of Newsies (Photo: Mark Kitaoka)|
THEATRE REVIEWWhen Disney announced in 2010 or so that they were making a stage musical based on their 1992 film Newsies, people were skeptical. The movie was a flop and a failure in the eyes both the press and the public. Though the music was written by Alan Menken, some of it was described as “forgettable” by some critics and others called the film “Snoozies.” In fact, one song, “High Times, Hard Times,” won the Golden Raspberry for Worst Original Song that year. But that is all in the past now.
The current stage production being presented by Village Theater at the Everett Performing Arts Center appears to have worked out all of the bugs that plagued the film. The story was re-worked, the pace sped up, a few characters changes were made and the “forgettable” songs were dropped. What is left is a new musical that feels like a classic and for this local production, it’s totally top-shelf material.
|(Photo: Tracy Martin)|
|Guthrie Greenwood Bettinger (Les), Mike Spee (Davey), |
and Marlette Buchanan (Medda Larkin).
(Photo: Mark Kitaoka)
The first half of Village Theatre’s production was so entertaining that it flew by. All the songs were winners, especially Katherine’s solo, “Watch What Happens” which forwarded the story by showing her vulnerable side of wanting to succeed with her first real news story, doubting that she would, while also trying to sort out her feelings for Jack. It’s the best of the new songs added to the show.
|Taylor Niemeyer (Katherine) and Joey Barreiro (Jack)|
(Photo: Matt Kitaoka)
The pace of the second half of the show slows down a bit and almost to a crawl during the obligatory love song, “Something to Believe In,” another new (and unnecessary) tune. Finally, the curtain calls are just as much fun as the show as everyone rises to their feet and claps along.
Newsies continues through playing at the Everett Performing Arts Center through February 4, 2018. The theatre is located at 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett, WA 98201.