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The “Newsies” Movie by Sullivan and Calhoun


Newsies was filmed live on stage at Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. It is a musical movie directed by Brett Sullivan and Jeff Calhoun. The main actors include Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Jeremy Jordan as Jack Jelly, and Kara Lindsay as Katherine. The movie takes 2 hours 29 minutes to watch, and it incorporates North American tour actors such as Steve Blanchard as Joseph Pulitzer, Ethan Steiner as Les, and Aisha de Haas as Medda Larkin (Lindberg). The movie is based on a true story, and it is set in New York City. The ideology behind the movie is to bring the life of teenagers and rich publishers. Back in the days children fended for themselves and the rich used to exploit them for cheap labor. The research aims to unfold the idealism versus the realism of fighting for human rights.


The movie is based on a true life story that happened in New York in 1899 when Jack Kelly and his ragtag team engaged in newspaper selling. The boys made a meager living in the city streets by selling newspapers, but they reacted by demonstrating in the streets when the price was hiked. The group of boys was referred to as newsies because they sold newspapers. Led by Jack and the newspaper reporter Katherine Plummer, they organized a union against the greedy newspaper publishers (Lindberg). The publisher was Joseph Pulitzer, and he was wealthy to the extent that it seemed more like a joke that the boys and the news presenter could make him change newspaper prices. The newsies were joyful, ebullient, and entertaining, capturing the strength of young people when they joined hands and stood against injustice.

Pulitzer’s office was flooded by angry New York residents that questioned his integrity. Pulitzer was hungry that the kids wanted to thwart him, but he gave in when he sees Governor Roosevelt with Katherine. They discussed modes of ensuring that everyone gets a win-win deal. They also decided to reduce the price of the newspapers by half, and the unsold papers were sold hence ending the strike.


Jack Kelly is the charismatic leader of the newsies and an orphaned dreamer. The artist is in constant pursuit of a better life throughout the movie. Kelly is protective of his best friend Crutchie, and he uses his voice to attain a better living conditions for kids working within New York. As much as Kelly is a fighter for a better tomorrow, he is big-hearted, more so when he meets Katherine, the news reporter. Crutchie is bum legged but is resilient in selling more papers to make ends meet (Kunze). The crutches he uses while walking do not define him in the crowded streets of New York City. Davey is a bright big brother that helps his family meet its demands by selling newspapers. Davey is the brain of the resistance during the strikes.

Katherine plumber is an ambitious reporter who works hard to make her name famous and legitimate. During Katherine’s era, the female gender was not taken seriously, but she ensured that she was granted legitimacy. She is resourceful and funny when she meets Jack Kelly. Oscar and Morris Delancey are brothers in the movie, and they work at the distribution window. The two brothers take the side of the published during the strike, and they use their fists to make a point. Joseph Pulitzer is a wealthy businessman that owns the World Company, and he does not sympathize with the boys who strike because of price increment.


The movie shows exploitative child labor practices because the World publishers use kids in supplying their newspapers. The Newsies are very young, and they need to attend school for a better future, but Joseph Pulitzer assumes the fact. Sidelining child rights makes them look overworked and underpaid. Many kids are underpaid because their employers assume that they do not know the value of money. The movie also portrays social injustice when the poor boys live in the studio apartment while their employer’s office (Pulitzer) is on top of a tall building finished with gold coating (Kunze).

The movie has the theme of fighting the establishment because Katherine is fighting for women’s empowerment. During the movie era, women were sidelined from public participation, and Katherine defied the odds of coming out strong amongst men. The newsies are also fighting for their rights to better payment and reduction of the newspaper prices from Pulitzer. The governor joined hands in fighting for the rights of New Yorkers because he felt that it was ideal for him to reduce massive strikes within the town. It was causing economic crippling and affecting their struggling economy.

Diction/ Playwriting

The diction is plucked by live-action consisting of cloying sentimentality that pleases the audience. The characters in Newsies have significant roles that come out clear. For instance, Jack Kelly is a charismatic leader of the Manhattan Newsies. Katherine’s first scene delivered a tone that was condescending and presumptuous. The musical event is set so that the Broadway hit has a synonymous outlook on delivering acrobatic stunts without any trouble. The artistic outlook of the movie taps raucous and pirouetting atop segments on the stage. The director incorporates musical moments and mobile scaffolds on stage to allow vertical alignment on the sets of high rises in New York (Lindberg). The cast shows utmost energy throughout their performances through dancing and singing.


The movie has a tight score on the type of musical dances and performances mirrored on the stage. However, it lacks some distinctions among its supporting players. For example, Crutchie and Pulitzer have some discords, and the female characters seem shortchanged. Katherine performs Watch what Happens as a solo, but it is not deep in presence. The entire cast has a similar likable and sharp ensemble, as some have limited character development (Chandler, and Scheuber‐Rush). Newsies have limited personalities, but they compensate through leaping, somersaulting, pirouetting, and engulfing their team spirits.

The heavy lifting is done by Luke Badura, Sterling McClary, Zach Gamet, Joseph Pendergrast, Aaron Carter, Atarius Armstrong, Chris De’Angelo, Kevin Dakake, and Peyton McDaniel. Aponte portrays talent in choreography, but at times he seems to overwork his dancers. For instance, Aponte overworks his dancers during the opening scheme of “Mamma Mia. However, some of Aponte’s moves and musical symmetry are imaginatively splendid.


The movie is a debut staged as a musical flop with intentions to pass the expected repercussions of life. The main outlook in Newsies is that children have the powers to shape their lives. The ideology of the movie was materialized when child labor law was nonexistent. The forces of the kids can be reckoned and respected by the authorities if everyone comes up with solid laws to safeguard their livelihood (Chandler, and Scheuber‐Rush). The speciation of horse-drawn horses and lovely old buildings is the most vital element of the movie. When the kids sing Carrying the Banner, the camera is sensitized seamlessly through New York streets to show the cobbled roads. When the group passes the streets while heading to the Central Station, they are surrounded by clotheslines that link every apartment, making viewers nostalgic. The music and dialogue contributed to the outlook of the movie. All the songs such as Love-Dovey Baby and Sante Fe are imperative to the movie.


The movie contains about fifteen actors who are acrobats and risk-takers. Their tremendous spirit in split leaps and lofty and arcing barrel turns around the high scaffold makes them look like talented gymnasts. The tumbling styles make them look like playful boys, but the natural history behind their dances and contests made the publisher realize they have rights—the right to good pay and avoidance of child labor. I enjoyed watching the movie because it encourages people to be persistent in whatever they do. After all, determination can enable anyone to walk out of a bad situation. I prescribe that doing the right thing can change the status from good to being better. Equally, the movie is based on a real-life story that dates back to 1899 when Jack Kelly led a strike on the newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer.

Whenever a movie is based on a true story, many people get excited to watch it because it is relatable most of the time. The creative liberties make the scenes entertaining, and Newsies played with many facts and stylistic strands in terms of narrative expectations. Every good build must ensure their ending is eloquent to excite the audience. Thematic conclusion of Newsies ties the message of victory because the newspaper publishers reduced their prices.

Works Cited

Chandler, Clare, and Simeon Scheuber‐Rush. ““Does Anybody Have A Map?” The Impact of “Virtual Broadway” On Musical Theater Composition“. The Journal of Popular Culture, vol 54, no. 2, 2021, pp. 276-300. Wiley. Web.

Kunze, Peter C. “Disney Theatrical Productions: Producing Broadway Musicals the Disney Way by Amy S. Osatinski“. The Lion and the Unicorn, vol 45, no. 1, 2021, pp. 130-132. Project Muse. Web.

Lindberg, Julianne. “Children, Childhood, and Musical Theater, Donelle Ruwe and James Leve (Eds) (2020)”. Studies in Musical Theatre, vol 15, no. 1, 2021, pp. 57-59. Intellect. Web.

Newsies. Directed by Kenny Ortega, Walt Disney Pictures, 1992.

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1. StudyKraken. "The “Newsies” Movie by Sullivan and Calhoun." November 29, 2022.


StudyKraken. "The “Newsies” Movie by Sullivan and Calhoun." November 29, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "The “Newsies” Movie by Sullivan and Calhoun." November 29, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'The “Newsies” Movie by Sullivan and Calhoun'. 29 November.

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