The UTEP Dinner Theatre’s Disney’s ‘Newsies!’ takes the stage

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The UTEP Dinner Theatre’s Disney’s ‘Newsies!’ takes the stage

Michelle Reyes Olea

Michelle Reyes Olea

Michelle Reyes Olea

Catherine Ramirez, Entertainmnet Editor

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The UTEP Dinner Theatre’s production of Disney’s “Newsies!” swept guests away with spectacular dance numbers, lively music and theatrical acting during its opening night Jan. 25. 

The story of Disney’s “Newsies!” was inspired by the 1899 New York City newsboy strike. Based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldmann and book by Harvey Fierstein.

Set in the turn-of-the-century New York City, the production takes guests on a journey with a restless newsboy Jack Kelly, played by Derrick Cintron, a “newsie” and leader of a group of teenage “newsies” who sell newspapers around town. 

The story takes flight when Jack rallies the “newsies” from across the city to strike against the publishing giant, Joseph Pulitzer, after he raises the distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense. With the help of news reporter Katherine Plumber, played by Alyssa Donnelly, the newsies fight to tell their story and show the world the power they have as the little guy. 

The cast delivered lively performances ranging from the fearless leader Jack, to the comical role of Crutchie played by John Levick, to the naive young Les played by Jensen Springer, to the bold female roles of Katherine and Medda, played by Tanisha Lewis. The cast delivered each character’s personality to its fullest and created a cohesive tone of power and perseverance.

Although all performances were admired, the most impressive and entertaining performance was by Levick, playing the role of Crutchie, who sang and danced through the entire performance hopping and balancing on one leg and a crutch.

The entire production was filled with athletic dance numbers that included airborne spins, wild kicks, flips and ballet moves from all of the cast while they simultaneously sang.

The UTEP Dinner Theatre production brought the setting of New York City to life — from the run-down neighborhoods of the newsies to the posh office of Pulitzer. The props and sets resembled those of a bustling city, truly recreating the energy of New York City in 1899.

Not only were the sets in the production created well, the costumes and makeup for each character took the audience into the story. The newsies are teenage boys struggling to make a living selling newspapers and the costumes and make up greatly reflected that; the characters were dressed in ragged and worn clothes with dirt makeup that emphasized their financial struggle.

The production holds a little bit of everything for everyone from comedy, to a love story, to a persistent fight for what is right; it is a feel-good show that will leave guests happy and a stomach full of warm food. 

As stated in their name, the dinner theatre begins the evening with dinner. The menu consists of a salad, beef medallions with rice and broccoli, and strawberry cheesecake. 

The UTEP Dinner Theatre’s production of Disney’s “Newsies!” is commendable that all would be content to attend and watch. 

The UTEP Dinner Theatre’s production of Disney’s “Newsies!” will continue with multiple shows until Feb. 10 with tickets on sale ranging from $27 to $48. For more information about the production and the UTEP Dinner Theatre visit www.utep.edu/liberalarts/udt.

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