Extra, extra, read all about it, Disney’s “Newsies” is coming to Minneapolis!
Hennepin Theatre Trust is welcoming another Disney, and Harvey Fierstein, story to its stage at the Orpheum Theatre this February.
In 1992, Disney released a musical film called “Newsies”” staring Christian Bale. The film told the story of the boys who sold newspapers in New York City in the 1890s. When the newspaper giants raise the prices of papers, one strong-willed 17-year-old newsie, Jack Kelly, decides to take a stand.
In 2011, award winning writer Harvey Fierstein created a musical based on the beloved film.
Jack’s story remained the centerpiece of the musical, but a new love interest was added with the character of journalist Katherine Plumber. Seven new musical numbers were also added.
Joey Barreiro plays head newsie Jack Kelly. Barriero took some time to share what it’s been like to be the King of New York and assures us in the audience that he is indeed kissing the girl.
Playwright Harvey Fierstein added in a love story that was not in the original 1992 film. What do you think this adds to the show? Why is it important to add this element in?
Barreiro: The love story facilitates Jack’s growth. Jack has a visceral sense of morality that’s constantly aggravated by the world’s inability to meet its expectations (classic angry young man). In order for him to grow he has to fight through disappointment and learn forgiveness. A love story is a fantastic vehicle for this kind of personal revelation because it’s hard to stay mad at a smart and well-intentioned pretty girl.
That is a very insightful way to look at love, as it often is what causes people to grow. There are obviously marked differences between the film and stage show, but for dedicated fans of the 1992 film what would you tell them about coming to the show?
Barreiro: I’m not Batman, but I think you’re gonna like it.
I’m sure they will! After all, it’s not completely different. So, tell me what is your favorite song in the show? Your favorite scene?
Barreiro: My favorite song is “Once and for All.” I’m a big fan of everyone in the cast, but my favorite scenes probably feature Stephen Michael Langton (Davey).
What have you found to be the most challenging part of performing in this show?
Barreiro: Doing it eight times a week and not losing weight in the process.
I’m sure many in the audience would be surprised to learn you haven’t! Especially with all the jumping and dancing you do. So, actor Christian Bale played the role of Jack in the 1992 film. What is it like to take on a role played by such a well-known actor?
Barreiro: I think the show is different enough that I’m living more in the shadow of Jeremy Jordan, the original Jack on Broadway, than Christian Bale. That being said, Christian Bale makes it easier to explain how cool my job is to those unfamiliar with “Newsies.”
I’m sure for those unfamiliar with the stage performance it is a very cool comparison. So, other than you not losing weight, what is one thing audience members would be surprised to learn about this show?
Barreiro: Some of our younger audience members always ask if I’m really kissing the girl. I’m really kissing the girl.
I can see that being a popular question among young audience members. “Newsies” is a predominantly male cast, yet often in middle and high school theater programs there aren’t always a lot of male actors. What would you say to aspiring young male actors to keep them engaged with theater?
Barreiro: I’m really kissing the girl.
I’m sure that would influence many young male actors! So, why are you excited to perform in Minneapolis?
Barreiro: I crave oneness with Prince.