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Tony Awards will include nominees from the musical 'Newsies'

'Newsies' improves as it makes the jump from 1992 movie flop to the Broadway stage.

By Contributor / May 2, 2012

It seems tough enough for a well-regarded film to make the successful transition from screen to stage. If you need evidence, take a look at the legendary flop musical version of “Gone with the Wind,” or the currently running Broadway production of “Ghost,” which has received less-than-positive reviews.

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So the odds of a movie that was a flop being turned into a Broadway success? Many would say slim to none.

But the newsies – the young boys that sold newspapers back in the day – beat the odds once when they got newspaper titans to buy back their unsold papers in 1899, and it seems to be happening again with their musical on Broadway, “Newsies,” which is based off the 1992 critically savaged movie and which was nominated for 8 Tony Awards yesterday.

I’d seen the movie and, while I admit that some aspects of it are less than great, loved many of the songs in the film. (The movie also features Christian “Batman” Bale as teenage strike leader Jack Kelly, dancing and singing with a Brooklyn accent.) So I was glad to hear that it was making its way to the stage, happy when it got good reviews, and even more excited when I got to go see it at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway.

Anyone who’s been to a stage show knows the etiquette. People sometimes applaud after the overture, applaud quietly after songs and dance numbers, and, if they’re really thrilled, stand up for a standing ovation at the end of the show.

So I was completely unprepared for the “Newsies” audience when I saw the show this weekend. I was sitting in the balcony, with people of various ages and genders around me, and with the clock having struck 8 p.m., the lights went down in the theater, as they will do when the show’s about to start.

And people started to scream. Nothing had happened yet, mind you. No one was on stage. People were THAT excited to see this show that the mere suggestion it was about to start prompted yells like we were at a Jonas Brothers concert.


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