Christian Bale won't star in stage version of 'Newsies,' but here's what you can expect

Newsies-Musical

Image Credit: Disney

You remember Newsies, the 1992 Disney cult hit about a turn of the 20th century New York City paperboy strike — a.k.a. the kids movie in which Christian Bale sings and dances. Well, Millburn, N.J.’s Paper Mill Playhouse is about to host the world premiere of the Bale-free stage version. The producers staged a special advanced presentation today of four numbers from the new show, which begins performances Sept. 15 for a Sept. 25 opening. For those fans out there (and I’m one of them), we’ve got the lowdown on what’s the same, what’s different, and what we’re really, really excited to see.

• Don’t expect to hear the Razzie-winning song “High Times, Hard Times.” That tune, along with showgirl Medda’s “My Lovey Dovey Baby,” was cut (the former at the request of book writer Harvey Fierstein). Expect four or five new songs in their place, including a solo by a brand spanking new character and a number dedicated to the Brooklyn newsies. 

• Jack Kelly’s back — shorter, hunkier, and without that weird cowboy hat. According to Fierstein, the first element of the film he knew he wanted to drop is the lead character’s obsession with cowboys and the West. The new Jack (a role created by Bale in the film) is a budding artist. And as played by Jeremy Jordan (who’ll play Clyde Barrow in the upcoming Broadway musical Bonnie and Clyde), he’s also stockier and better looking, and a trained singer with a genuine-sounding New York accent.

• You’ll still hear Jack’s dreamy ballad “Santa Fe.” But this time around, it’s gotten some new lyrics, and it’s opening the show instead of serving as a mid-story sleeper. Now it’s a duet with fellow newsie Crutchie (first played by Marty Belafsky) that leads to a rousing rendition of the movie’s original opening number, “Carrying the Banner,” with choreography by Tony-nominated Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific) that pays homage to the film.

• Girls, there’s now a real heroine for you. Fierstein replaced Bill Pullman’s weathered journalist with a young female lead who gets way more story time than the film’s little-seen female star. Katherine (played by Kara Lindsay) is a wannabe hard-nosed reporter stuck covering flower shows — and she’s a serious love interest for Jack. “It’s a real love story,” Jordan promises EW.  She also adds a female element to the formerly all-boy song “King of New York.”

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  • Michael

    OMFG!!!!! This is like my childhood dream come true!!!!

    • Jeremy

      Where have you been? they announced this like a year and half ago! thats what happens when you love your job and you have awesome connections :D im very pleased with the changes more then the Star Wars Blu Ray

  • Jackie

    I love this movie!! Kind of disappointed to hear that Bill Pullman’s character is being replaced by a woman, though. Not that there’s anything wrong with creating a new, strong female character, but ‘King of New York’ is one of my favorite songs from the movie, and they can’t really sing it to a woman.

  • Chanandler Bong

    so its a newsies musical, but taking out most of what made Newsies good….hmmm next thing will be its about bloggers not paper boys.

  • AliciaJo

    “he’s also stockier and better looking,”

    Ummm WHAT?!? How can someone be better looking than Bale?

    • Tarc

      By being anyone in Hollwood that’s not Christian Bale… it’s not like Bale is remarkable looking.

    • Other Meredith

      I agree with AliciaJo. No one is better looking that Christian Bale! At least that was true when I first saw Newsies in theaters as an 8 year old.

    • Paige

      Agreed. I read that line and couldn’t believe it. No one could be better looking than Christian Bale. I still remember sitting in the theater watching Batman Begins when it dawned on me that Christian Bale was one and the same with my childhood crush in Newsies! I loved him in this movie, and I love him now!

  • Meg

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? When, where, and how can I get tickets? I would happily pay over my entire savings for this!

    • Jeremy

      Paper Mill House in New Jersey…there doing soft openings next week. starts in two weeks.

    • Regina George

      I need tickets. Badly. Right now. Oh. My. God. Hyperventilating.

      • Josie

        I saw it Saturday. It was really good. Amazing dancing!

  • marilinda

    yeah really, you can’t sing King of New York with a woman. and i am a woman, and i am offended.

    • marilinda

      also, see ya later, Medda. Ann-Margaret, you are great and all but Medda was terrible.

    • Rebecca

      Oh, but you can…and quite well I might add. Great show. Can’t wait till it opens on Broadway. Will see it again!

  • BrandonK

    Sounds like it could be fun, but when you change that many story elements, it’s not really the same as the movie…probably should have called it something else.

  • M

    Got my tickets the day they went on sale and I am ready to go!! Thanks for the tidbits!

  • Molly J

    Obsessed with this movie since I saw it in the theaters. Always dreamed they’d put it on stage but they replaced Denton, turned Jack into an artist, and changed Santa Fe into a ballad with Jack and Crutchie?? Sacrilege!!

    • VIcki

      Yeah, I feel the same way. It’s like they changed things just to change things, rather than tweaking the original to make it better.

      • Mike

        These aren’t brand new changes. These are original ideas by Alan Menken when he was first writing the music and collaborating with the story.

    • Alice

      Even I, who probably still have the movie memorized, can admit that Jack’s Sante Fe dancing was one of the most cringe-worthy parts of the film. Jack was more than his cowboy obsession. I’m more excited about the song for the Brooklyn newsies, as I recall Spot Conlon being the favorite of many a girl in my 7th grade class.

  • Other Meredith

    I’m skeptical about all of these changes except a better love interest for Jack. What’s her face was super lame/boring.

  • SAM

    I was there today and a huge Newsies Fan…. The changes make it even better.

  • Anne

    Feh, Jack already has a great love interest. David.

    • jess

      I’ve thought this since I was 10!

    • Molly J

      I always thought there was something between David and Denton. And it was awesome.

    • Sara

      Yeah, I recently rewatched Newsies and was totally convinced that David + Jack = true love.

    • nix

      this. Oh well, Disney Productions.

  • Skye

    Loved Newsies; want to see the play, but must confess, Christian Bale was a big part of my loving the movie.

  • Angela

    Jeremy Jordan is super talented. I saw him in Bonnie & Clyde’s pre-Broadway run at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL. He’s fantastic.

  • Carmania

    Never fear, Brooklyn’s here!

    • Kat

      I freaking LOVED the Brooklyn newsies. Spot Conlon. SO HOT. (You know, when you’re 12.)

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