The multiple Tony winner was a film flop before Disney gambled on a stage show
“Newsies,” the movie flop that became a stage smash, is ending its Broadway run and starting a national tour.
The final performance at the Nederlander Theater will be on Sunday, Aug. 24, Disney Theatrical Productions said Sunday.
When it opened on March 29, 2012, “Newsies” was intended for a Broadway run of just 101 performances. Instead, devoted fans propelled the show to a run that will total 1,005 shows, attendance of more than 1 million and a grosses of more than $100 million. By the time it closes, only the landmark musical “Rent” will have played the Nederlander Theater longer in its 93-year history.
“Newsies” features a score with music by eight-time Academy Award-winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, with a book by Harvey Fierstein. Jeff Calhoun directed and the choreographer is Christopher Gattelli.
“From our first performance, we have been humbled by the spontaneous and genuine outpouring of affection from fans and the theater community alike,” said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions.
“Alan and Jack’s tuneful, rousing score, Harvey’s timely book, Chris’s muscular choreography and Jeff’s cinematic staging merged seamlessly to become a glorious work in the proudly classic Broadway tradition. When our tour launches in October, I’m thrilled that audiences across North America will be able to experience the adrenaline rush that is ‘Newsies.'”
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“Newsies” has set and broken seven Nederlander Theatre house records and was the highest-grossing show of the 2011-12 Broadway season. The show received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award nods – and won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for score and choreography.
The “Newsies” North American tour launches in October 2014 and will play 25 cities over 43 weeks during the 2014-15 season.
The enthusiastic reaction to the stage show was something of a surprise, as the 1992 movie it’s based on was bomb. The musical loosely based on the 1899 newsboys strike against Pulitzer and Hearst starred a young Christian Bale and Robert Duvall, and grossed less than $3 million.
It built a following with showings on cable TV’s Disney Channel and on home video, which encouraged Disney Theatricals to take a gamble on a stage show. Critics and audiences were wowed by the 2011 run at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, and Disney launched what was to be a limited, 13-week engagement.