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New York City, 1899. Jack Kelly and his ragtag team of newsboys make a meager living selling newspapers on the city streets. But when the prices of “papes” are hiked and the newsies are hung out to dry, there is nothing left to do but “open the gates and seize the day!” Led by charismatic Jack and independent, young newspaper reporter Katherine Plummer, the Newsies form a union and organize a strike against the greedy publisher of the New York World. Can a group of idealistic newsboys win against a foe as powerful as acclaimed publisher Joseph Pulitzer? Inspired by the true story of the 1899 Newsboys Strike, Newsies is an ebullient, joyful, and entertaining musical capturing the strength that young people have when they join together and stand up against injustice. With a funny, poignant book by Harvey Feirstein and stunning music by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman -- including the show-stopping Seize the Day, power ballad “Santa Fe” and lovely new songs like Katherine’s “Watch What Happens -- Newsies is a classic with the power to inspire.

 
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cast

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS

*may cast male or female

MALE

jack kelly // b flat 2 - a4 // age 16 - 20 // The charismatic leader of the Manhattan newsies, is an oprhaned dreamer and artist who yearns to get out of the crowded streets of New York and make a better life for himself out West. Fiercely protective of his best friend, Crutchie, and strongly loyal, Jack isn’t afraid to use his voice to attain better conditions for the working kids of New York City. Though living on the streets has given him a tough-guy exterior, Jack has a big heart and can demonstrate a sweet vulnerability – especially when it comes to bantering with a certain female reporter. Must have a great pop tenor voice and sense of physicality.

davey jacobs // d3 - a4 // Age 15 - 20 // Les’s straight-laced, bright big brother starts selling newspapers to help his family earn a living, but becomes swept up in the fervor of the strike. A leader in his own right who is learning to use his voice to uplift others, Davey is the brains of the resistance.

les jacobs // d flat - b flat 3 // Davey’s cheeky younger brother, is inspired by the freedom of the newsies and loves their independent lifestyle. A precocious and natural newsie, Les is an intuitive salesboy and a pint-sized charmer. He should present as younger than the other newsies.

joseph pulitzer // c3 - f4 // age 35 - 50 // A pompous businessman through and through, owns the World and is concerned solely with the bottom line. Katherine’s no-nonsense father, Pulitzer doesn’t sympathize with the strikers, but he does eventually – and grudgingly – respect Jack.

crutchie // c3 - A4 // age 13 - 17 // A dedicated newsie with a bum leg that’s painful, but helps sell more papes. Though he walks with the assistance of a crutch, Crutchie doesn’t let it define him; when in a jam, Jack Kelly’s best friend relies on a goofy- sweet sense of humor and optimistic resilience. Crutchie is the heart of the resistance. Though his movement will suggest his bum leg, Crutchie should still be included in the dance numbers.

*spot conlon //c3 - g4 // Age 17 - 20 // The proud leader of the Brooklyn newsies, boasts an intimidating reputation and a short singing solo in “Brooklyn’s Here.”

*newsies : includes Albert, Buttons, Elmer, Finch, Henry, Ike, Jo Jo, Mike, Mush, Race, Romeo, Specs, Splasher, and Tommy Boy // Age 13 - 25 // some of the hard-working kids of New York City that go on strike for a livable wage.

oscar & morris delancey // baritone // age 15 - 25 // Tough brothers who work at the distribution window for the World, take the side of the publishers in the strike and are known to use their fists to make a point.

bill// The son of William Randolph Hearst who joins the newsies' cause. Can double as a newsie. 

darcy // The upper-class kid of a publisher who sides with the newsies. Can double as a newsie. 

wiesel // spoken // age 35 - 50 // Or “Weasel,” runs the distribution window for the World and knows most of the newsies by name. Assisted by the intimidating Delancey brothers, who keep order by any means necessary, Wiesel is Pulitzer’s disgruntled paper- pusher.

snyder // spoken // age 45 - 65// The crooked and sinister warden of The Refuge, a filthy and horrible orphanage, is concerned only with catching enough kids to keep his government checks coming.

mister jacobi // spoken // Age 35 - 55 // Allows the newsies to congregate in his restaurant to plan their strike – when he doesn’t have any paying customers, that is.

Governor Theodore Roosevelt // spoken // age 40 - 55 // A well-respected lifelong public servant, inspires Jack to stand up to Pulitzer.

Mayor // spoken // age 45 - 60 // The Mayor of New York City rebuffs Pulitzer’s attempts to shut down the newsies’ strike.

featured adults // bari tenor // age 25 - 60

FEMALE

katherine plummer // a3 - e5 // age 17 - 21 // An ambitious young reporter, works hard to make a name for herself as a legitimate journalist in a time when women aren’t taken seriously. Quick, funny, and resourcesful, she boldy captures the voice of a new generation rising in her coverage of the newsies’ strike. While she generally has no time for cocky, streetwise young men, she makes an exception for Jack Kelly. Though she only has a brief dance solo in “King of New York,” Katherine should have a great contemporary pop voice with a high belt – diction is key.

medda Larkin // f3 - e5 // age 30 - 45 // Inspired by vaudeville performer Aida Overton Walker, this big-voiced saloon singer and star of the Bowery offers her theater as a safe haven for the newsies. An astute entertainer with great comic delivery, she’s a good friend to Jack and stands firmly behind the newsies in their fight for justice.

*spot conlon //c3 - g4 // Age 17 - 20 // The proud leader of the Brooklyn newsies, boasts an intimidating reputation and a short singing solo in “Brooklyn’s Here.”

Hannah // mezzo // 20 - 40 // Pulitzer’s practical and insightful secretary.

*newsies : includes Albert, Buttons, Elmer, Finch, Henry, Ike, Jo Jo, Mike, Mush, Race, Romeo, Specs, Splasher, and Tommy Boy // Age 13 - 25 // some of the hard-working kids of New York City that go on strike for a livable wage.

The Bowery Beauties // mezzo - soprano // age 18 - 30 // Female performers at Medda’s Theater.

nuns // mezzo - soprano // age 20 - 60 // The three nuns offer breakfast to the hungry newsies. Feel free to cast additional nuns.

featured adults // mezzo - soprano // age 25 - 60

ENSEMBLE

In the original Broadway production, the adult (non-newsie) ensemble comprised eight actors who doubled and understudied as indicated below. All other featured roles and understudies were cast from the ensemble of newsies. Feel free to follow these tracks or expand as your resources allow.

FEMALE ENSEMBLE 1 // Nun / Hannah / Bowery Beauty / Katherine understudy

FEMALE ENSEMBLE 2 // Nun / Woman / Bowery Beauty / Medda understudy

FEMALE ENSEMBLE 3 // Nun / Medda Larkin

MALE ENSEMBLE 1 // Wiesel / Stage Manager / Mr. Jacobi / Mayor / Pulitzer understudy

MALE ENSEMBLE 2 // Seitz / Roosevelt understudy

MALE ENSEMBLE 3 // Bunsen / Male Ensemble 1 understudy

MALE ENSEMBLE 4 // Nunzio / Guard / Policeman / Roosevelt

MALE ENSEMBLE 5 // Snyder / Pulitzer understudy