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NEW YORK — Extra! Extra! Disney’s Broadway musical Newsies, about a bunch of scrappy young paper boys who take on the powerful publishing giants of 1899 New York for a fair deal, will kick off a North American tour in October next year.
The road company will begin performances in Schenectady, N.Y., and Waterbury, Conn., before the tour’s official opening in Philadelphia. Dates in 25 cities over 43 weeks have been scheduled during the 2014-15 season, including stops at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco and the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
“The enthusiasm from North American audiences and theaters for a Newsies tour has been palpable, proving that the affection for this title is deeper and more widespread than even we imagined,” said Disney Theatrical president and producer Thomas Schumacher.
A Tony Award winner for composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman‘s score and for Christopher Gattelli‘s choreography, the musical has been an unexpected breakout hit for Disney.
Directed by Jeff Calhoun, the show was adapted by book writer Harvey Fierstein from the 1992 Kenny Ortega movie musical, a fictionalized account of the New York City newsboy strike of 1899, which starred a young Christian Bale. That film was a major flop for Disney in its theatrical release but subsequently went on to acquire a passionate following in cable showings and home entertainment formats.
The stage version was conceived as a licensing property, but strong response to its fall 2011 premiere engagement at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse prompted a limited 13-week Broadway transfer, which opened March 29, 2012. Capitalized at just $5 million, which is low by Disney Theatrical’s standards, the production quickly caught on with audiences, prompting Disney to make it an open-ended run.
Now approaching its 700th Broadway performance, Newsies has broken house records at the Nederlander Theatre seven times. The production announced recoupment of its initial investment in December 2012, making it the fastest of Disney’s stage shows to move into profit.
The musical has grossed more than $77 million on Broadway to date and continues to be a robust box office performer.
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