Last month, I wrote a post on 6 reasons to watch Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s local production of Disney’s NEWSIES. This past Sunday, I went to see for myself if the show truly lived up to the hype. I was running on half my usual hours of sleep and had just come from a two-day retreat. As I sat waiting for the show to start, I nearly drifted off.
And then the music started.
Newsies tells of a group of delivery boys who go on strike when newspaper publishers raise the price of their newspapers, making it more expensive for the newsboys to earn a living. Many of them are orphans who live on the streets. Every morning, they would buy their stacks of “papes” up front then go around hawking them in New York City. What they don’t sell, they can’t refund. For the newsies, it’s sold out or bust.
The theme of injustice is relevant on its own, but what really made Newsies relatable and engaging were the characters. As the main character and the leader of the newsboys, Jack Kelly captured my interest from the start. In front of his crew, he’s the tough, street smart captain. But with his closest friends and on his own, he’s a vulnerable, talented boy who dreams of escaping the streets to live a peaceful life in a small town.
I loved the contrast between Jack and newcomer Davey—who, unlike the rest of the boys, still had a family to come home to at the end of the day. While Jack has the authority and swagger, Davey has the knowledge and words. Together, they make a great team as they rouse and bring together newsboys from different districts for a single cause.
As the story progressed, I enjoyed seeing how the characters grew—Jack moving from dreaming about a different life to making a better one of what he had, Davey gaining confidence in his own skills, Katherine Plumber getting her break as a reporter. Newsies is about these disadvantaged kids finding their voice collectively, but it’s also about them finding their place as individuals.
I raved about the characters, but without the proper cast to bring them to life, they fall flat. That was not the case here. From his first appearance singing “Santa Fe,” Gian Magdangal positively owned the stage. It was my first time to watch him, and I was impressed by how he slipped into the skin of Jack Kelly. He wore Jack’s swagger as well as he did his vulnerability, and he attacked the songs with power and grit.
Jef Flores was the perfect counterpart to Gian as Davey. He transitioned from a boy unfamiliar with the rules of the street to one who stepped up in Jack’s absence as smoothly as his voice navigated his lyrics.
Playing the part of Katherine Plumber, budding reporter and Jack’s love interest, was Danielle Chopin. I could relate all too well with the image of an unsure yet passionate reporter that Danielle painted. There were a couple of big notes that Danielle struggled with, but I think it was more of her voice getting tired than anything else.
Speaking of big notes, veteran performer Pinky Marquez nailed them as theater owner Medda Larkin. She was simply captivating as she strutted onstage in her solo “That’s Rich.” She had minimal stage time, but boy, did she milk it for all it’s worth.
Of course, I have to give major props to all the Newsies. Singing, dancing, and acting are challenging on their own—do them together, and that’s epic. I was in awe of how they kept track of their choreography, blocking, lyrics, and characterization. The performers were at different levels of dancing and maybe also singing, but they remained strong as a whole. The cast went through weeks of intense training under award-winning choreographer PJ Rebullida, and it showed. Their energy was infectious and unflagging, and I enjoyed every minute that they filled the stage.
Before the show started, Globe Live’s Joe Caliro shared that the folks from Disney flew in for the gala performance and gave them their seal of approval. That announcement had me setting my expectations high. To my delight, they delivered—and then some.
The casting was on point, and so was the production. I’d wondered what the acoustics would be like, given that it was an open-air venue, but the sounds were clear, crisp, and immersive. The set was designed to perfectly situate each scene. I loved how dynamic it was and how the changing of the sets were worked into the choreography such that they moved the action forward. And that huge printing press near the end? Genius.
Earlier, I said that I was sleepy and tired heading into Newsies. But as the music swelled and the feet kicked, I found myself getting a fresh burst of energy. From the sweeping notes of “Santa Fe” to the marching beat of “The World Will Know” to the high-powered rhythms of “Seize the Day,” Newsies pulled me into the heart of the story and its characters.
I joined the audience in whooping and clapping for the cast, orchestra, and crew—and thanks to the open venue, we could be as enthusiastic as we wanted to be! It was a great way to cap off my week.
Those 6 reasons I mentioned here? Definitely legit. In the words of the Newsies, seize the day, and book your tickets now!
Scroll down for a few more photos of the musical. 🙂
Don’t miss your chance to watch NEWSIES for yourself! It runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of July, so you have six shows to choose from: July 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30. The show starts at 8 PM at the Globe Iconic Store Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global City.
For tickets and more information, visit go.globe.com.ph/newsies, or call Ticketworld at 891-9999.