NEWSIES from Orpheus Musical Theater at Meridian Theaters in Centrepoint

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In addition! In addition! Read all about it! The Orpheus Musical Theater is back!

Not only is Orpheus finally back, he might even be better than ever. For its first production after a pandemic-induced hiatus, Orpheus chose Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical to conduct its 2022-2023 revival season in three shows. The musical is based on the 1992 feature film which, in turn, was based on real events. News tells the story of New York City newspaper sellers in the 1890s, who responded to rising prices by staging a strike that halted newspaper distribution for nearly two weeks and eventually resulted in better paying newspapers , who were often children. Relevant topic: With food prices soaring and recession looming, audiences today can read our local news to find out how price increases are impacting people who are already struggling to feed their families.

The sets of Orpheus (Jillian Foebel) in this production appear to be more luxurious and of better quality and functionality than anything I have seen in the past. With large sets set up around the stage or lowered from the rafters, the overall staging appeared to be professional quality. In particular, Mr. Pulitzer’s office was beautifully staged, with a magnificent executive desk and cathedral windows that divided the space from the rest of the stage, providing a more intimate office setting. The incorporation of a projection screen into the backdrop was useful for certain elements, such as the writing of the newspaper headlines. However, when the screen was used for background imaging, it only took up a small portion of the overall background and ended up feeling rather amateurish.Review: NEWSIES from Orpheus Musical Theater at Meridian Theaters in Centrepoint

The cast consisted of many fresh faces, as well as a few repeat faces. The two main leads, Mason Timm (Jack Kelly) and Meg Barbeau (Katherine Plumber) had fantastic chemistry that made them a lot of fun to watch. Kelly’s character shifts from a muscular badass to a charmer with a hidden sensitive side, but Timm was able to manage that balance with ease. Both Adrien Pyke and Hayden Chesser were excellent as the right-hand man to Jack Kelly, Crutchie and Davey, respectively. Although vocally the cast was capable all around, Chesser’s voice was still excellent, which is no surprise as Chesser has ten years of experience in acting. Likewise, the experience of Carmella Gehrels (Medda Larkin) and Paul Melsness (Joseph Pulitzer) was evident in their performances. John Iziomon played Les, the tiniest newsie, with such enthusiasm that the audience simply swallowed his performance. With that kind of charisma at eleven, I can’t wait to see him develop further in future roles.

Review: NEWSIES from Orpheus Musical Theater at Meridian Theaters in CentrepointNews has choreography (Niamh Webber and Morgan Coughlan) that traditionally focuses heavily on athleticism and this cast was able to deliver. Two ensemble members who really stood out were Benjamin Craig-Browne and Alexandra Sinha, the former being a classically trained ballet dancer. The costumes (Sarah Marks) matched the era and matched my memories of the Broadway musical. As they danced, some cast members seemed to have a little trouble holding their hats on – literally! The orchestra, conducted by Terry Duncan, also did a phenomenal job. I constantly complain about the sound at the NAC, but the sound here (John Cybanski) was perfect.

Overall, this is a wonderful, high-caliber production that proves the old adage that all good things come to those who wait. So if you want to take advantage of the day, click here to get your tickets for the Orpheus production of Newsperforming until November 27 at Meridian Theaters @ Centrepointe.

Photos by Maria Vartanova.

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