There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Ruthless exploitation, child labor, robber-baron capitalism, and salvation via union organization: On the face of it, Newsies reeks far too much of socialism to be a typical Disney production. But two decades after releasing the movie musical about a group of energetic, newspaper-brandishing young men in jaunty newsboy caps, the cartoon conglomerate doubled down and brought the production to the stage. Loosely based on the 1899 summer strike against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst’s New York newspapers, the 1992 movie featuring urchins with a penchant for song-and-dance routines and exaggerated New York accents was one of the lowest-grossing Disney releases ever, bringing in only $3 million. Young star Christian Bale later called it a mistake, to the outrage of devoted fans, but the film had an underrated charm and turned into a cult classic. When retooled for the stage, the Broadway show became a hit, winning Tony Awards for best score and choreography before launching a national tour, proving that a plucky, athletic, determined core of dancing newsboys fighting an evil capitalist overlord while singing catchy tunes and leaping about the stage in unison remains a successful formula. The musical runs June 9 to June 21 at the National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $48–$203. (202) 628-6161. thenationaldc.org.