Disney’s most famous paperboys will be peddling their “papes” on the Great White Way. Producers revealed today that the stage adaptation of Newsies — the 1992 Christian Bale-led film musical about a 19th century newsboy strike — will follow its successful world premiere at N.J.’s Paper Mill Playhouse (see our original review) with a limited 101 show run at the Main Stem’s Nederlander Theater next year. Previews begin on Mar. 15, with an official opening night scheduled for Mar. 29 — 12 days before the film’s 20th birthday.
That’s a sweet present for a musical based on a failed film that wasn’t supposed to go anywhere but regional theaters and high school auditoriums after its New Jersey run. Popular demand had prompted Disney to write and produce a stage musical of the movie simply so it could be licensed to amateur productions (it’s the Mouse House’s most requested property). So they called in original songwriters Alan Menken and Jack Feldman to improve the tunes, Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein to fix the book (here’s a list of his changes), and director Jeff Calhoun to stage it.
Good reviews and lots of attention later (Newsies was the first regional production to ever perform on ABC’s The View), the fast-spinning, high-flying, revamped musical is planning the big move to Manhattan. But don’t get too excited, there is a kink: Casting hasn’t been announced yet and Jeremy Jordan, who played Bale’s role of lead newsie Jack Kelly in the Jersey production (and played it better), is currently starring in another Broadway musical, Bonnie and Clyde. Who will fill his shoes?