This week, Sacramento’s Music Circus is presenting “Newsies,” a musical based on a Disney movie about teenage newsboys challenging the wealthy publishers who employ them.
“Newsies” transports us to 1899, when New York was a gritty young metropolis. Newspaper tycoons hired roving, rag-tag boys — paid in pennies — to hawk the latest edition, shouting the headlines.
When the publishers get a little selfish and trim the newsboys pay, the young newsies organize, and a charismatic teen from the tenements named Jack Kelly outlines a plan:
Jack: “Nobody sells papes, okay?
Other boy: “You mean, like a strike?’
Jack: “Yeah, you heard baby? We’re on strike!”
Soon, everyone’s onboard.
The plot is formula-driven, but there are many dance numbers with stirring tunes and valiant lyrics, as the limber lads fan out through the city, advancing their fledgling cause.
“Newsies” runs almost entirely on cheeky boy-power, as there are only a few women on stage. And while the show is nominally based on an actual strike, the predictable plot is basically wish-fulfillment, with a love story and feel-good ending.
Fortunately, the Alan Menken score includes catchy melodies, and this briskly-staged production is both fun-loving and user friendly. So enjoy “Newsies” at the Music Circus for what it really is: An appealing, up-tempo dance show, with a very capable cast.
The Broadway at Music Circus production of “Newsies” continues through Sunday, July 15, at the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento.