Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee- Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) announced that the Millburn, New Jersey theater will open its 2011-2012 season with the premiere of a new Disney stage musical, Newsies. Featuring music by eight time Academy Award®-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid), lyrics by Jack Feldman and a new book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy), Newsies is adapted for the stage from the live-action Disney feature film musical. The production will be directed at Paper Mill by Tony® nominee Jeff Calhoun (The Will Rogers Follies, Grey Gardens).
The show begins performances on Thursday, September 15. The official press opening is scheduled for Sunday, September 25. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2011-2012 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Savings Bank.
The film Newsies has grown into a cult phenomenon with a generation having grown up on the movie’s driving, infectious score since its 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD, released in 2002 in response to demand from fans. Its popularity has grown so dramatically, in fact, that – of all the Disney film musicals not yet adapted to the stage – Newsies has for years been the single most requested title by professional and amateur theatre groups, according to the world’s largest dramatic licensing agent MTI. This new stage version introduces several brand- new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, which featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).
Newsies is inspired by the real life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led the ragged orphans and runaways known as newsies on a two-week long action against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. Set in New York City at the turn of the century, the musical is the tale of newsie Jack Kelly, who dreams of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when Pulitzer and Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsies’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies his army of newsies to strike.
“It’s been thrilling to return to my beloved Newsies and to revisit, revamp and expand upon the score Jack Feldman and I wrote; especially with the exciting addition of a new book by the brilliant Harvey Fierstein,” says legendary composer Alan Menken. “This collaboration has been a total joy. And I can’t wait to see our new baby come to life.”
“Newsies is based on real people, mostly kids, and the events they set in motion that rocked this country many years ago,” says lyricist Jack Feldman. “Fundamentally, though, it’s not a story about our past, but our future. That’s one reason it’s been so inspiring to work on. Two other terrific reasons: Alan Menken and Harvey Fierstein.”
“Newsies is an inspiring story of the power of young people and the hope of a better tomorrow,” says book writer Harvey Fierstein. “I have loved the opportunity to explore these rich characters and situations and I hope that we’ve given this extraordinary score an even more resonant setting.”
“We are thrilled that Disney Theatrical has chosen Paper Mill Playhouse to premiere this new musical,” says Mark S. Hoebee Producing Artistic Director for the Millburn Theater. “This is an important project for Paper Mill Playhouse as we help to bring this brand new Disney musical to our stage and beyond.”
“We’re delighted to finally be bringing Newsies to life on stage for the first time at Paper Mill,” said Steve Fickinger, VP Creative Development and Licensing for Disney Theatrical Productions. “We know there is significant interest in this title, and look forward to making decisions about its availability for local productions in the fall.”
Newsies begins at Paper Mill Playhouse on Thursday, September 15 and will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday through Sunday, October 16. Three, four and five show subscription packages are available beginning February 17, starting at $84. If you want to ensure that you will get a ticket to see Newsies, become a Paper Mill Playhouse subscriber. Single tickets will go on sale this summer and range in price from $25-$96. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 35% discount on tickets and should call 973-379-3636, ext. 2438. Investors Savings Bank is the proud sponsor of the 2011-2012 season.
Paper Mill Playhouse will announce their entire 2011-2012 season on Thursday, February 17, 2011.