I’m always excited to watch a new musical, especially when it involves homegrown talent. So when I heard that Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical were bringing Disney’s Newsies to the local stage, I jumped at the chance to learn more about it. Before last week, all I knew was that it was a musical about newspaper delivery boys. At the press event held in the swanky Ibiza Beach Club BGC, I got a taste of the dance musical extravaganza that is Disney’s Newsies. I have to say, I ended up “extra, extra” stoked to watch the real thing.
Read on to find out why you should book a date with the Newsies this July!
1. It’s the first local production of Disney’s Newsies in the Philippines.
Fun fact – Joe Caliro of Globe Live and Santi Santamaria of 9 Works Theatrical knew they wanted to produce a Disney show, but Newsies wasn’t it. The suggestion came from Disney Theatrical Productions themselves, who saw the Globe Iconic Store in Bonifacio High Street and told the duo that they had the perfect show in mind. A trip to Chicago to watch the musical convinced Joe and Santi they were on to something.
Originally released in a film starring Christian Bale back in 1992, Newsies was adapted for the stage in 2011. A year later, Disney Theatrical brought the show to Broadway, where it ran for two years and was nominated for eight Tony Awards.
2. It’s based on a real story that’s socially relevant…
Loosely based on the 1899 newsboy strike in New York City, Newsies tells the story of a group of newspaper delivery boys who take a stand against the two publisher giants of their time. They know what they deserve and they’re out to get it, even if they have to take their cause to the streets and stop traffic. Social injustice, worker exploitation, and youth activism. Sound a bit familiar?
It may not seem like the fairy tales we’ve grown used to when it comes to Disney, but that’s not to say there isn’t a happy ending in sight. AND I’ve got it on record that there’s a pretty romantic love story thrown into the mix too!
3. …But it’s far from boring.
Remember its Tony Award nominations? Well, Newsies won two, including Best Original Score for Alan Menken and Jack Feldman. If the name Alan Menken rings a bell, that’s because he scored many Disney films including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Hercules, and the recent Tangled, among others.
The second Tony went to Christopher Gattelli for Best Choreography – a high bar for choreographer PJ Rebullida to reach. With a Gawad Buhay award under his belt, PJ’s more than up for the challenge. “When I listen to the music, the music will tell me to jump. It’s Alan Menken. I can hear the jumps and the pirouettes,” he said.
Choreography is one thing; the actual execution is another. Which brings me to my fourth point –
4. The cast went through six intense weeks of training.
From the beginning, Joe and Santi along with director Robbie Guevara knew that the demanding dance sequences would make Newsies their most challenging show to mount. They needed more time to prepare, and they needed 21 talents who were – or had the potential to be – triple threats: actors, singers, and dancers, all in one.
They found their cast (more on them later!), and they put them in Training Ground. Six hours, five days a week, the mixed-level cast trained in ballet, jazz, gymnastics, and tap, along with singing, dancing, and scene work. Talk about a full-time job!
Joe shared that they initially thought they’d need to get actor-dancers even if they couldn’t sing, but they ended up with a group of talents who will all be miked come opening night. We got a sneak peek of one of their numbers – check it out below.
5. There are bonafide Disney alumni in the multitalented cast.
Playing leading man Jack Kelly is Gian Magdangal, who’s fresh from a stint at Hong Kong Disneyland’s The Golden Mickeys. Franz Imperial, who was part of the opening team of Hong Kong Disneyland, chases after Jack as Snyder. Then there’s Bowery Beauty Melissa Bell, formerly with Tokyo Disney Sea and Hong Kong Disney.
Danielle Chopin (My Fair Lady – US) makes her Philippine theater debut as reporter Katherine Plumber, while Greg Dulcie (The Lion King – US) plays Joseph Pulitzer. Local theater fans will recognize Pinky Marquez (Beaty and the Beast) as Medda Larkin, and Raymund Concepcion (The King and I) and Ariel Reonal (Miss Saigon), both of whom will take on multiple roles.
Joining Gian as Newsies are Jef Flores (Tick, Tick…BOOM!), Daniel Drilon (Fun Home), Tory Cortez (A Christmas Carol), Luis Marcelo (Little Shops of Horrors), Alex Diaz (Star Magic Circle), Anton Posadas (The Sound of Music), Ian Ocampo (The Nutcracker), Erick Arenas (We Will Rock You), Stephen Viñas (Titus Andronicus), Ronelson Yadao (Ulaging), Jim Ferrer (Annie), Jourdan Bartolome (UP Filipiniana Dance Group), Mark Anthony Grantos (Masterpieces), Chesko Rodriguez (Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady), Jon Abella (William), Kendrick Ibasco (A Christmas Carol), Vyen Villanueva (Company of Ateneo Dancers), Jan Mayo (Orosman at Zafira), MC dela Cruz (Mula sa Buwan), and Clark dela Riva (Alice in Wonderland).
Finally, Joni Galeste (A Christmas Carol) rounds up the cast as one of the Bowery Beauties.
6. It’ll run at the Globe Iconic Store Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater all weekends of July.
It’s the perfect way to add extra flavor to your gimmick nights. Gather your family and friends for an early dinner in BGC, or catch the show and then go out to party. The show runs at 8PM all Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights of July – that’s July 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, and 28-30, 2017. That’s twelve schedules to choose from!
For tickets and more information, check out go.globe.com.ph/newsies or call Ticketworld at 891-9999. See you there? 🙂