Disney's Newsies JR.
Seize the Day with Disney’s rousing musical that has thrilled and inspired young people for generations.
United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand Only.
Show Essentials
25
Roles
+ Ensemble
G
Rated
1
Act

Full Synopsis

At dawn on a summer morning in 1899, Newsies - the young boys and girls of New York who peddle newspapers to Customers throughout the city - chaotically shout the daily headlines. Away from the others, Jack Kelly shares his dream for a better life out west with his best friend, Crutchie ("Santa Fe - Prologue"). Jack and Crutchie join the rest of the newsies in starting the day ("Carrying the Banner"). They gather at the New York World's distribution wagon, where they pick up their daily stacks of papers from Wiesel and his goons, Oscar and Morris Delancey. Jack offers to show the ropes to newcomers Davey and his kid sibling Les, and together they head out into the city ("Carrying the Banner - Reprise").

Meanwhile, Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the World, vows to fight declining circulation of the newspaper. He and his staff - Bunsen, Seitz, and Hannah - cook up an idea, but at the expense of the newsies.

After completing a successful day of selling papes, Jack, Crutchie, Davey, and Les are chased suddenly by Snyder, the warden of The Refuge, until they find safety in Medda's theater. Medda Larkin welcomes Jack and his friends by offering her theater as a safe haven while they watch her perform with Ada, Olive, Ethel, and the rest of the Bowery Brigade ("Just a Pretty Face"). During the performance, Jack notices Katherine, a bright young reporter he had seen earlier that day. Jack offers his remarkable sketch of the performers to an impressed Katherine for use in her review.

The next morning, the newsies are outraged to learn that Pulitzer has raised the price of newspapers. Prompted by Davey, the newsies decide to form a union and strike ("The World Will Know").

After a successful first day of striking, newly elected union leader Jack Kelly sends representatives to spread the word of their strike to newsies throughout New York City. Katherine begins writing what she hopes will be a front-page-worthy story about the strike ("Watch What Happens").

The next day, only a small group of newsies has gathered at Newsie Square to strike. Davey and Jack energize the newsies, successfully rejuvenating the movement ("Seize the Day - Parts 1 and 2"). Katherine and her photographer Darcy arrive just in time to snap a triumphant photo.

Soon after, Snyder arrives with the police to break up the strikers. They haul Crutchie away to the dreaded Refuge. A defeated Jack once again longs for a new life away from all the pandemonium ("Santa Fe"). Meanwhile, unable to sleep at The Refuge, an optimistic Crutchie writes an encouraging letter to Jack ("Letter from The Refuge").

Bruised and battered, the newsies are about to lose hope. Fortunately, Katherine arrives with a copy of her front-page story about the strike, causing them to break out in celebration ("King of New York").

Later, Davey, Les, and Katherine find a disheartened Jack at Medda's theater, and try to convince him to return to the fight. After his refusal, the Delanceys sneak up behind Jack and drag him to Pulitzer's office to negotiate an end to the strike. Pulitzer reveals Katherine to be his daughter and offers a betrayed Jack a choice: get sent to The Refuge or renounce the strike and leave New York with pockets full of cash.

The rest of the newsies from all across New York - even the intimidating Spot Conlon and the newsies of Brooklyn - gather at Medda's theater for the rally that Davey has planned ("Brooklyn's Here"). Jack arrives, having accepted Pulitzer's deal, and is booed off the stage when he encourages the newsies to call off the strike.

Katherine refuses to let Jack give up, and they sneak into the World's cellar to print a paper that exposes the unfair treatment of the newsies with the help of Dorothy and Bill ("Seize the Day - Reprise"). The kids eagerly distribute the pamphlet to inspire working children all over the city to join the fight ("Once and for All").

The next morning, having read the Newsies Banner, Pulitzer is furious at the newsies' attempt to thwart him. However, after a tough negotiation, Jack convinces Pulitzer to compromise with the newsies: The price increase will remain, but publishers will buy back any unsold papers. The strike is over!

The newsies rejoice as Governor Teddy Roosevelt congratulates Jack. Crutchie appears amid the celebration, followed by a handcuffed Snyder. Just as Jack is about to set out for Santa Fe, he realizes that the newsies are his family and, after all, those papes ain't gonna sell themselves ("Finale").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Large (21 or more performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Jack Kelly

The charismatic leader of the Manhattan newsies, is an orphaned dreamer and artist who yearns to get out of the crowded streets of New York and make a better life for himself out West. Fiercely protective of his best friend, Crutchie, and very loyal, Jack isn’t afraid to use his voice to attain better conditions for the working kids of New York City. Look for an actor who can command the stage with ease, possesses strong vocal abilities, and can exude Jack’s tough-guy exterior and his big heart.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Katherine Plumber

An ambitious young reporter, works hard to make a name for herself as a legitimate journalist in a time when women aren’t taken seriously. Quick, funny, and resourceful, Katherine should be a strong singer with excellent diction for her showstopping number, “Watch What Happens.” Because Katherine and Jack possess a strong bond, consider auditioning these roles together to get a sense of the performers’ repartee.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Crutchie/Casey

Jack’s best friend and a dedicated newsie with a “bum leg” from polio that causes pain, but helps sell more papes. Walking with the assistance of a crutch doesn’t define the ever-positive newsie, so look for an actor who can portray Casey’s goofy-sweet sense of humor and optimistic resilience. Crutchie is accustomed to modifying daily activities for their disability, so consider both the character and actor’s abilities when blocking and choreographing.

Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Davey

Les’s straight-laced, bright big brother, starts selling newspapers to help his family earn a living but becomes swept up in the fervor of the strike. A leader in his own right, who is learning to use his voice to uplift others, cast a strong actor and singer who can lead “Seize the Day” while smartly portraying the brains of the resistance.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Les

Davey’s cheeky younger sibling, is excited by the newsies’ freedom and loves their independent lifestyle. This pint-sized charmer should present as younger than the other newsies

Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: B3
Medda Larkin

Inspired by the African- American vaudeville performer, Aida Overton-Walker, A big-voiced singer and star of the Bowery (see the “Dramaturgy” document in Downloadable Resources). A proud supporter of the newsies, she offers her theater as a safe haven for their revolution. Look for a performer who can portray this astute entertainer with great comic delivery, while standing firmly behind the newsies in their fight for justice.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Joseph Pulitzer

A pompous businessman through and through, owns the World and is concerned solely with the bottom line. Katherine’s no-nonsense father, Pulitzer doesn’t sympathize with the strikers, but he does eventually – and grudgingly – respect Jack. For this non-singing role, cast a strong actor with a sharp and imposing presence.

Gender: male
Wiesel

Aka “Weasel”. A disgruntled paper-pusher who uses the Delancey brothers as his muscle, runs distribution for the World and has little patience or sympathy for the newsies. Feel free to incorporate this actor into the newsies ensemble when possible.

Gender: male
Newsies

The hard-working kids of New York City who go on strike for a livable wage. Find moments to showcase any talented tumblers or dancers within this group. Given the nature of this show, most other characters can double as newsies to help fill in the musical numbers. Within the newsies ensemble, consider dividing the group into featured dancers and singers in order to play to the strengths of your performers.

These include the following roles: Race, Albert, Muriel, Nancy, Specs, Pigtails, Hazel, Buttons, Tommy Boy, Romeo, Jo Jo, Scabs, Brooklyn Newsies, Spot Conlon

Darcy

A photographer who works with Katherine.

Dorothy

Katherine’s upperclass friend whose parents own the New York Tribune and help the newsies print the Newsies Banner.

Gender: female
Bill

Katherine’s upperclass friend whose parents own the New York Journal and help the newsies print the Newsies Banner.

Gender: male
Working Children

Featured in “Once and For All,” they represent all of the other child laborers who receive the Newsies Banner and ultimately become a part of the children’s crusade. These working kids can be pulled from your larger newsie ensemble.

Seitz

The editor of the World who advises Pulitzer, but ultimately admires the kids’ newspaper.

Bunsen

Pulitzer’s bookkeeper who helps Pulitzer come up with the idea to raise the newsies’ price per paper.

Hannah

Pulitzer’s secretary who is a clever advocate for the newsies.

Gender: female
Snyder

The crooked warden of The Refuge. A filthy and horrible juvenile reformatory, is concerned only with catching enough kids to keep their government checks coming. Look for an actor who can evoke an imposing and sinister presence.

Governor Teddy Roosevelt

A well-respected lifelong public servant who inspires Jack to stand up to Pulitzer. Cast an actor with the ability to portray the maturity and stature of this well- respected leader.

Gender: male
Bowery Brigade

Includes the roles of the upbeat and charming Ada, Olive, and Ethel. A group of vaudeville performers in Medda’s act. While only three performers have solos, feel free to make this ensemble group as big or small as best fits your production.

Gender: female
Police Officers

Includes the role of the Police Chief. They intimidate the newsies and arrest Crutchie. Cast as many officers as suits your production.

Pat

An efficient stage manager who introduces Medda’s act.

Woman

A newspaper customer.

Gender: female
Full Song List
Disney's Newsies JR.: Santa Fe (Prologue)
Disney's Newsies JR.: Carrying the Banner
Disney's Newsies JR.: Carrying the Banner (Reprise)
Disney's Newsies JR.: Just A Pretty Face
Disney's Newsies JR.: The World Will Know
Disney's Newsies JR.: Watch What Happens
Disney's Newsies JR.: Seize The Day (Part 1)
Disney's Newsies JR.: Seize The Day (Part 2)
Disney's Newsies JR.: Santa Fe / Letter from The Refuge
Disney's Newsies JR.: King of New York
Disney's Newsies JR.: Brooklyn's Here
Disney's Newsies JR.: Seize The Day (Reprise)
Disney's Newsies JR.: Once and for All
Disney's Newsies JR.: Finale

Curriculum Connection

  • Writing
  • Informational Texts
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Drama

Billing

JR. Script Adaptation by David Simpatico

Based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White.

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
Licensee shall incorporate the following credits and comply with all size and other restrictions on the title page of all playbills and programs, and in all houseboards, displays and in all other advertising, press releases and any other promotional material, except as otherwise provided below, as follows:
The (Licensee)
(50% of title)
Production of
(33%)
 
Music by
Alan Menken
(30%)
Lyrics by
Jack Feldman
(30%)
Book by
Harvey Fierstein
(30%)
 
Based on the Disney Film
Written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White
(20%)
 
Originally Produced on Broadway by
Disney Theatrical Productions
 
  • The billing to the Licensee must be in the form specified above, include the words, “Production of” below Licensee’s billing, which shall be visually contiguous with the title, so that the audience is informed that the Licensee is the producer of the production. The size of the credit to the Licensee shall be no less than 50% of the size of the logo or artwork title, as measured by the proportion of the font point size to the height of the largest letter in the logo.
  • The size of the credit to the authors (Music, Lyrics, and Book) shall be no less than 30% of the size of the logo or artwork title, as measured by the proportion of the font point size to the height of the largest letter in the logo.
  • The size of the credit to the Disney film shall be no less than 20% of the size of the logo or artwork title, as measured by the proportion of the font point size to the height of the largest letter in the logo.
Further examples of proper billing can be found in Sample Poster and Program found in Section G of the Director’s Guide.

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate license to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your program. ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase the separate license for video recording, you must print the following in your program. The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included

Production Resources

Resource
ACTOR'S BOOK TENPACK
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
SCENIC PROJECTIONS-JR ANIMATED
SCENIC PROJECTIONS-JR STILL