“Above the fold.”
That is a line in the Hawaii Children’s Theatre musical production of “Newsies.” It’s a scene where some of the newsboys are talking about a competing newspaper’s coverage of their strike against the New York “World” for an increase in their purchase price of papers.
The story is on the front page, and even, as it is pointed out with much enthusiasm, above the fold.
This musical directed by Rebecca Hanson is such a delight, it’s so high-energy, it’s so much fun, it has such passion, it deserves a review in exactly that place: above the fold.
“Newsies” is filled with wonderful choreography and terrific singing. Each of the nearly 50 cast members, including about 30 local actors under 13 years old, leave nothing on the stage at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. They give each dance, each scene, each line, their heart and soul.
“Newsies,” an award-winning Broaday musical, is flat-out fun in this HCT version. It picks up pace and action as it goes along, flowing easily from one scene to the next. The dance numbers are second to none. When many of the cast members are on stage together, flipping, twisting, turning, spinning, it is magic.
You’ll find yourself pulled into a world of those newsboys who buy and sell single copies throughout New York City. When the World’s owner, Joseph Pulitzer, raises their purchase price, the newsies rally others newsies to their cause. It’s based on a true story of an 1899 strike.
Theirs is a hard world, scraping by, standing by each other, sharing shacks, fighting each other at times and fighting for each other. They earn pennies, but yet, manage to organize to take on the rich and powerful and, in the end, stick together to come away with a win where no one believed they could.
While the entire cast deserves a standing ovation, we only have room here to highlight a few.
Let’s start with Billy Quebido, who has the lead role as Jack Kelly, who encourages the newsies to strike and faces down Pulitzer. Quebido shows off a strong voice, agile dance moves, and a range of emotions from determination to dejection to joy. His smile lights up the stage.
His right hand man, Davey, is played by Isaac Dubey. He, too, displays terrific range in song and dance and has a strong stage presence that demands respect. His combination of charm and charisma nearly steals the show.
And we have to highlight stage veteran Jessika Montoya. She’s perfect as the reporter, Katherine, for the competing paper who covers the striking newsies when no one else is paying them any attention. Her voice, her smile, her inflections, shine through. And there is a connection between Kelly and Katherine that has you rooting for them to overcome the obstacles that threaten to separate them.
Colten Moore as Crutchie comes through early on with some of the key lines and songs. The scene where he reads aloud a letter he is writing to Kelly while in custody is perhaps the most touching of all. Listen carefully to his words and watch how this scene wraps up so sweetly.
When you go, try to watch all the dancers. Pay attention to those in the rafters above. It’s easy to lock in on the ones in the middle of the stage because they are so good. You’ll be rewarded with performances that will make you smile. Some of the best scenes come from the smallest cast members.
So, don’t just read all about “Newsies.” Headlines, sentences and pictures just can’t give it due justice. We can’t tell you the whole story right here. Go see this musical for yourself.
Fill the seats for those loveable newsies who deserve page one, above the fold. And we’re happy to give it to them.
The show is scheduled 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 25. Tickets are available at the door for $15 adults, $12 seniors/students (children 3 and under are free). Advance tickets are available for $12 at ticket outlets.
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.