By Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com
Big, bold and full-out dancing from a chorus of newsboys fills the stage in "Newsies."
All the news you really need to know is that the national touring production of “Newsies” brought to Centennial Hall by Broadway in Tucson, is a genuine bona fide guaranteed-to-please-ya' hit!
There's no mincing, no shading, no qualified compliments. “Newsies” is it. The real thing.
And even better, for those fortune telling fans of theater worried about the future of Broadway musicals in general, “Newsies” is a teen magnet – especially for the female set.
With more than a dozen vigorously jumping, swirling, somersaulting newsboys singing with all the macho conviction of the Red Army Chorus, and living the roles of young rebels standing up to the press power of Joseph Pultzer – what self-respecting teen feminist wouldn't be swept away!
As for the core musical theater audience, those older couples who long for a sweet love story, songs with actual melodies and a happy ending, they also get lots to like. As well as a wink to remind them of rebellious times from their own adolescence, and (for the men) memories of that girl they knew who was so pretty she couldn't possibly ever give them the time of day.
Except that time she did.
Dan DeLuca, whose stage presence is built for Broadway stardom, plays Jack Kelly the lead rabble rouser of newspaper-selling street urchins on the crumbling sidewalks of Lower Manhattan in 1899.
With an equally bright future is uber-feisty Stephanie Styles as the sweet-faced but hard-nosed Katherine, a cub reporter and the only one who believes the newsies are being dealt a raw deal by by Pulitzer's newspaper, the New York World.
The old-fashioned love story in Harvey Fierstein's adaptation from the original 1992 movie could have seemed terminally schmaltzy in lesser hands, but DeLuca and Syles project such a charming romantic spirit we just want them to be happy.
Their duet, “Something to Believe In,” was added after the successful Broadway run and is now the show's emotional highlight. Well, except for the newsboys' victory when they all joined forces just like a union and refused to sell any newspapers at all.
When you hear that proud chorus of triumphant youth singing “Seize the Day” and “King of New York,” anything seems possible. These truly magic moments don't come along very often in most touring musicals.
Seize your own day and get tickets for “Newsies.”
Performances run through Sunday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday; at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., inside the main gate at the University of Arizona.
Tickets are $25-$100. For details and reservations, www.broadwayintucson.com or purchase tickets in person at the box office at Centennial Hall.