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.
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.
"ROUGH MAGIC" GETS WACKY
Given that everybody knows the power of magic isn't real, it is astounding how for the past several hundred thousand years everybody has kept the power of magic alive.
Now we have experimental free-form playwright and comic book author Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa giving this eternal fascination a cheeky twist in his play “Rough Magic,” being staged by the Winding Road Theater Ensemble.
Aguirre-Sacasa travels back in time just a handful of centuries to Shakespeare's “The Tempest” where a traditionally grumpy Prospero has totally lost it and turned into a raging maniac seeking revenge and the return of his personal handbook of magical potions, incantations and everything evil.
Just how evil, you may ask.
So evil that the book's cover isn't bound in leather, but in human skin!
Fortunately, the playwright is after more of a dark comedy than a re-imagining of history as if Hitler had been a book worm. What we get are myriad references to Shakespeare's cannon of timeless characters and unforgettable imagery.
Plus a vein-popping portrayal of Prospero by a bearded David Alexander Johnston, seething and storming about the Cabaret Space at the downtown Temple of Music and Art.
Standing up for the forces of goodness and light is none other than a Manhattan community theater dramaturg, the very determined Melanie Porter. In this production she gets a solid and soundly based portrayal from Cyndi Lafrese, a new face at Winding Road who can come back any time.
These two provide the axle around which spins an eclectic melange of personalities from both the past and present, representing literary references, pop culture icons and madcap mythology with equal abandon.
Also abandoned is the rigid attitude that men must play male roles and only women can be the females.
We are in the land of loosely structured experimental theater here, with stylized acting and loopy results – as you might expect. Clearly, “Rough Magic” is not a play for everybody.
Some scenes work better than others. It is often difficult to tell what is going on. There is no character development -- except for Caliban (Andrew Gray), sort of, who spends a portion of the second act turning into a green lizard and then...oh, never mind...reverts back to his regular self.
Yet, all 11 cast members are totally committed to their roles. The overall energy and teamwork togetherness is awesome. Even when you feel confused about the play, it is always easy to trust the actors.
After curtain calls, everyone in the audience will be smiling and leaving with the same question: What did you think it meant?
“Rough Magic” runs through May 3, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, in the Cabaret Space at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $18-$22, with discounts available. For details and reservations, 520-401-3626, or visit www.windingroadtheater.org