Newsies at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
By Emilee Hatfield
When you walk into a theatre what do you normally expect? A wonderful night experiencing a meaningful story filled with heart and dazzlingly performances right? Well, what if those talented people that provide these performances also served you dinner just before they come on stage to perform, dance and sing their heart outs? It would be a completely different experience than one would think with traditional theatre. This is exactly what night I had when attending a production of Newsies the musical at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse last Thursday evening.
Directed by Pat Payne, this production of a once long forgotten Disney film now turned musical sensation contains a very genuine heart and love for the original production. Entering the theatre there is a certain amount of charm to the nice set against the many tables of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. One that can only be given with the backdrop that is New York City.
The story follows a group of Newsies that work on the Manhattan streets day in and day out seeing newspapers. However when their boss Mr. Pulitzer played by Kent Sugg, raises the price for the papers they sell, Jack Kelly (Logan Traver) the leader of the group decides that its time to take a stand. Accompanied by his fellow Newsies and a strong headed writer named Katherine, they do their best in order to make their statement and get the prices reduced back to what they feel they rightfully deserve.
The show is known greatly for it’s music, written of course by Alan Menken (The Composer of some of Disney’s greatest and well known songs) and even more so for its choreography. This production being choreographed by Matthew D. Peters, who did very well when adapting it to this production, however there were times that the dancing could appear to be a bit thrown off. Newsies is a musical that depends heavily on it's dancing and tap scene. And while the tap scene was phenomenal in itself and is one of the best parts of the show; other moments did appear to flop, slowing the show down ever so slightly.
With this being said, it still did not take away from the heart of the show. The entire cast did well, and held a sense of strength and roughness around their edges as if they were New York boys working no the rough streets of the times.
One I have to eagerly point out was Ben Welch as Crutchie. His performances has so much emotion that you can’t help but root for him every time he is on stage. He also becomes the perfect balance for Logan Traver’s Jack Kelly and both have such a good chemistry as well as all of the Newsies within the show.
Now with every experience at Candlelight comes the ever so unique matter of what differs it from any other theatre. The dinner experience that takes place prior, during and after the show is something that is definitely exclusive to two theatre in the Denver Metro area, Candelight being one of them. The dinner of course is served prior with the entire cast as your waiter, and waitresses. While this was very much so a wonderful experience I still find it a bit strange to see the cast serve you desert during intermission. Though it adds a lot to see them in full costume before heading back on for the second act; leaving me to wonder how they are able to do all of this as well as put on a show.
I have to praise the entire cast for this, not only did they somehow manage to pull all of this off, but they also were standing by the door to thank us for coming as we left the theatre. That is a class act, and very respectful. In many regards I felt like I should be thanking them for working and performing as well as they did. Newsies isn’t an easy show to do, and while I did see a few missteps from time to time that did throw the show off in its entirety, it still was a solid night of theatre, with a great heart at its center by it's amazing cast. One can say they definitely seized the day.
Newsies runs at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse runs through August 26th. For Tickets please visit http://www.coloradocandlelight.com/tickets/prices-showtimes/ or call the box-office at 970-744-3747