Disney’s Newsies hits the Storybook Theatre stage as the company wraps up its 46th season
We spoke with director Aliza Sarian to learn more about the production.
Actress Aliza Sarian // Submitted
Based on the 1899 Newsboy Strike of New York, Disney’s Newsies tells the true tale of the events through a Broadway show. The musical follows the story of the fictional character Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who fights back against millionaire publisher Joseph Pulitzer who raised the price of newspapers at the newsboys’ expense. Closing out Storybook Theatre’s 46th Season of Inspiration, Disney’s Newsies is an inspiring story about fighting for what you believe. The show opens May 12 and runs until June 3. We spoke with director Aliza Sarian to learn more about the production.
What inspired Storybook Theatre to choose Disney's Newsies as the closing show for the season?
Newsies fit perfectly with our theme this year, and Disney is always a name families are sure to be drawn to attend and enjoy our great artists and their storytelling. Our Season to Inspire came out of a need to program works of theatre that would inspire audiences to once again venture out to the theatre post-pandemic and take in inspiring stories like Disney’s Newsies. It is the perfect tale of inspiration, capturing the true story of the rise of working children’s voices at the turn of the 20th century.
How does the show portray important themes such as love, perseverance, and community?
What feels most inspiring to me about Newsies is the power of youth voice. As a lifelong educator, Newsies resonates in 2023 because it shows that advocacy for human rights is always a fight worth fighting—even against the most powerful. In the newsies’ battle against millionaire publisher Joseph Pulitzer, we see how their fight for fair wages (one that is not entirely unfamiliar to us today, well over 100 years later) is not just about them, but about all young people across the city being taken advantage of by “the man.” The message around our responsibility for one another is one of utmost importance today.
Can you share any behind-the-scenes stories or interesting facts about the production?
In Newsies, many of the characters are living alone, in a children’s home, or are otherwise operating independently from their families. As such, the character of Crutchie says, “I don’t need folks, I got friends.” And that is what this cast has become to one another: a family. They have a unique bond that developed before they even stepped foot into the rehearsal room in March, and it has only strengthened as we’ve gone through the process together. What audiences will see on stage is a group of performers who are more to one another than just castmates, they are a family.
What can audiences expect from the performances of Disney's Newsies at Storybook Theatre, and why should they come to see the show?
Our hope for Storybook’s production of Newsies is that audience members can see themselves represented in each of the unique characters presented on stage. Whether they’re the eager new kid or the worn-down veteran, we want them to see that they, too, can fight for the issues that are important to them. While this is a story familiar to many of us dating back to elementary school, the choreography, staging, and set design offer a contemporary and innovative take on the historical 1899 Newsboys Strike of New York City. We promise that the audience will leave singing the songs and signing up for dance classes.