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Newsies: Musical at Broward Center

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Joey Barreiro stars in Newsies Joey Barreiro stars in Newsies

The hot musical Newsies, winner of 2 Tony Awards, is now playing at the Broward Centre. This high-energy production with a dynamic set and vibrant cast is the best musical seen in Ft. Lauderdale this year.

With elements of the stage productions Oliver and Les Mis, this Disney production focuses on New York City in 1899. It’s all about the kids who sold the city newspapers, thus the name newsies. The owner of a paper, Mr. Pulitzer (based on the real-life character) wants more money from the newsies, who go on strike and demand a rollback of the fees.

Organiser of the union is Jack Kelly, played by Joey Barreiro, a graduate of the University of Miami. His stage presence as a street-wise kid, combined with first-rate dancing and vocal abilities, is a beacon for the rest of the cast who follow suit with great performances. Kelly’s character is reminiscent of one played by James Cagney in a movie where he gives a stern talk to a troupe of young actors. In this case Jack Kelly projects his persona to organize people to form a union and eventually prevail over the big city bosses. Done convincingly here by Barreiro.

The Newspaper danceThe Newspaper danceThe highlight for the ensemble cast is the famous newspaper dance, where they actually split a sheet of newspaper on the floor and do acrobatic dancing on the two sheets. An example of this at a special press performance is pictured here, along with many of the cast members.

In an interview for the Sun News Miami, Barreiro said he really wants to be a composer. “I’m writing a musical based on a Bach Fugue.” He explained that the great composer Johan Sebastian Bach created a fugue “that is like a mathematical structure. Mathematics in and of itself is beautiful but Bach made it sublime.”

His turn towards classical jazz music is all the more remarkable as he did not imbibe classical music from his earliest years. “My Mom raised me on Streisand,” he said.

The cast of Newsies, with Barreiro and Keene, centerThe cast of Newsies, with Barreiro and Keene, centerI also had the pleasure of interviewing Jack’s love interest in the musical. Katherine is played by Morgan Keene, and she was hooked on Newsies before she appeared in it.

“I saw it on Broadway four times. I remember saying the first night I saw it that I wanted to play the part of Katherine when I get older.”

Her enthusiasm could not wait though, so at age 16 she auditioned for the role. She was too young then, but now at 18 she is perfect for the part. “I had a connection with it,” she said. “It’s pretty crazy!”

Keene says she is “way beyond where I expected to be at 18.” She may go back to college, maybe even to teach younger kids, whom she loves. But right now she is getting a different kind of education in musical theatre. “I’m learning everything by doing it here.”

Newsies tickets can be found on the website for the Broward Center.

Photos by C. Cunningham

Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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