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    Exhilarating Newsies Demonstrates the Power of the 99 Percent

    newsies2The Disney musical Newsies is set in 1899, but its timeless tale of the wealthy one percent gouging the rest of us packs a strong emotional punch, particularly for LGBT audience goers. Perhaps one reason why the show seems to resonate so well with our community is that the book was written by four-time Tony Award winner and always out Harvey Fierstein, famous for hit queer shows such as La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy and many others.

    “It’s clear that the themes of Newsies—of the younger generation taking their place, of the underclass righting injustice —are extraordinarily timely,” Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President of Disney Theatrical Productions, said. “We could never have imagined our show would be called to Broadway in the way it has, but we could not be prouder that it’s resonating so deeply.”

    The tale was inspired by the real-life “Newsboy Strike of 1899,” when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway “newsies” on a two-week-long action against publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. In the musical, the publishers raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense.

    To this day, those who deliver or sell newspapers aren’t exactly rolling in dough, and the situation was even more extreme in the late 19th century, when social programs for orphans and others in need were even worse than they are now.

    When the newsies portrayed in the musical decide to strike, the jolt of power that they feel is conveyed in the showstopper “Seize the Day.” The gymnastic moves are Olympics-worthy and include backflips and Baryshnikov-style leaps and spins. It’s part “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (minus the brides), part Gene Kelly in “Summer Stock” (remember Kelly’s famous newspaper dance?) and is altogether unforgettably fantastic.

    The aforementioned number is an all male extravaganza, but one of our faves in the cast is Angela Grovey, whom you might recognize from the movie Joyful Noise or the TV show 30 Rock. She’s been in a bunch of Broadway and other theater productions too. Here she plays Medda Larkin, who owns a vaudeville-style theater. She’s a burlesque queen and mentor to the show’s lead character “Jack Kelly.” As Grovey shares, the musical is a story of “triumph” that really inspires those who see it. The driving, infectious score will also stay with you long after you leave the theater.

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    Newsies will be at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco from February 17 to March 15. Those who attend opening night will make history because SHN is holding the first ever Broadway Bobblehead Night. Silly, right? But, like the goofy Giants giveaways, we want one! The special Newsies bobblehead will be free to audience members that night. It’s just an extra bit of Disney fun on top of the smash hit musical that already has won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography.

    For more information and to buy tickets, please visit: www.shnsf.com.

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