As I sat on that rainy Saturday afternoon at the movie theater, suddenly a wave of nostalgia washed over me. I sat there watching the movie from Fathom Events of the Broadway production of Disney’s Newsies. Fathom Events is a company that puts on entertainment like operas, musicals, and concerts and displays them for one night only in movie theaters. I had forgotten some of my favorite musical numbers that Newsies had. As I sat there watching the scenes unfold in front of me, I realized that there’s a lot that I hadn’t seen while watching live in a theater. What I mean is that the experience is much different when you’re sitting in front of the screen watching the show, then actually being in the Pantages Theater in Hollywood and experiencing it live for the very first time. When the 15-minute intermission rolled in, many “fansies” – (fans of Newsies) got up and were squealing with delight that they got to see their favorite musical again, for a price as cheap as $13.
Subsequently, I found myself reminiscing about the many times that my sisters and I had gone to the Pantages Theater, to watch Newsies. Seeing it at the movie theater, was our third time watching it, after having seen it live in theater twice before. It was one spring afternoon when my older sister decided to surprise my twin sister and I to go see a Broadway production. One thing to know about my older sister is that everything with her is spontaneous. Our adventures are never really planned and she always catches us by surprise. So we decided to get dressed up on that Saturday evening in March and headed straight to Hollywood. Living so close to Hollywood in a way sort of becomes familiar that you loose that excitement, but after not having been out in Los Angeles for over a month, it felt like we were catching up with an old friend. We took the I-10 W, then took the I-101 N to Gower St Drive heading towards Hollywood Blvd. On our way there, my sisters and I noted that not a lot had changed since we had last been there. There were still signs of the freeway undergoing construction and Echo Park was still there. We found ourselves reminiscing about that one time that our dad took us horseback riding when we were 10 years old, and laughed at the memory.
Finally, we hit Hollywood Blvd and our destination was to our right. Finding parking is always a hassle in the streets of LA. After what seemed like hours, we finally found a parking spot and paid the kind, sir, $10. We then proceeded to walk the streets and headed towards the Pantages Theater. Walking in that particular area of Los Angeles can feel like you’re walking the streets of New York, in Times Square—the city lights shined bright everywhere. Furthermore, traffic can get pretty crazy on that street and honks are heard in just about every corner.
As we crossed the street, I took in the posters and sights around me, as they showed the musicals that they were going to have for the 2016-2017 year -shows like The Book of Mormon, Finding Neverland, and Rent. Looking down, I realized I was walking on stars, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that is. This is a Hollywood Icon; a star is on the ground with the name of a celebrity or well-known Hollywood person in the movie making industry.
I remember walking when I stopped dead in my tracks and realized that standing just a few feet away from me was a judge from one of my all time favorite shows So You Think You Can Dance. Just a few feet away from us was Maddie Ziegler; she’s well known for her role in the show Dance Moms and being Sia’s lead dancer in a lot of her music videos. Many people were approaching Maddie, and naturally, we would have just walked by her, but I had the audacity within me to approach her and ask if we could take a picture. We were trying to get someone to take the picture, when Maddie said, “I’ll take a selfie, I’m good at those.” So we got our selfie with the Ziegler sisters and headed into the Pantages Theater.
Now for those of you who don’t know (just like I did), the show Newsies is a real life event that happened in 1899. Newsies takes place in New York City and follows the life of charismatic leader Jack Kelley, who dreams of a life in Santa Fe, New Mexico away from the hardship of the city streets. Jack Kelley and his band of boys sell newspapers for a living, but when Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst (publishers of newspapers) increase their newspaper prices from 50 cents to 60 cents, the boys find a cause to fight for and rally for what is right. I remember finding out a year later that Newsies was an actual event in history as I sat in one of my communication classes.
Walking into the Pantages theater, I felt as if I had just stepped into the 1920’s and totally got that Great Gatsby vibe. Walking into the theater, I noticed refreshments all around. We found our seats and sat in the Mezzanine. In front of us, sat a pair of ladies. Their squeals could not hide their excitement. Suddenly the lights dimmed and the show began…
***Caution: The following paragraphs contain spoiler alerts- read at your own risk ****
The show began with Jack Kelley singing “Santa Fe” as he tells his friend Crutchie that he longs to get out of New York and move to Santa Fe. The orchestra played “And the World Will Know” which is basically the Newsies saying that they won’t give into Pulitzer and Hearst; they will not sell newspapers until they bring prices back down. One of my favorite performance’s was in Act 1 when they sang “Seize the Day;” it began with a really slow tempo, but then climaxed to an upbeat speed. The Newsies then grab newspapers and dance with the newspapers under their feet, doing flips and turns. From far away one can’t really tell their facial expressions, but in the movie screening, one is able to vividly see Jack Kelley’s facial expressions, where a lot of anger is displayed. Fifteen-minute intermission hits, and I have the song “Seize the Day” stuck in my head.
Intermission can get pretty crazy, as everyone chooses that time to go use the bathroom. I then proceeded to walk around, everywhere people were dressed up for the occasion. Men in tux and ladies in dresses. I walked around and almost everyone had a drink in their hand. Intermission ends and Act 2 began. Act 2 commenced with “King of New York” (my second favorite performance from Newsies.) Reporter Katherine Plummer comes into the deli and tells the Newsies that her article about the strike made it on the front page of The New York Sun—and above the fold. This time around they break out their tap shoes and tap and sing as they wonder what it would be like to be wealthy. The show ends with Pulitzer reluctantly agreeing to Jack Kelly’s proposal: to buy back every newspaper that the Newsies failed to sell in any given day. The curtain drops and the crowd goes wild. Everyone is clapping for an encore. I never realized how excited “fansies” got. Little did I realize that my sisters and I had gone to the show on opening night.
My thoughts return to the present, as the movie draws to a close, and everyone had gone crazy. Everyone was clapping wildly as they got to see their favorite musical. And so I realized that Los Angeles has a way of making itself unannounced. I never know what I’m going to encounter when I walk into the city. Let alone that I was going to go watch Newsies on opening night or run into Maddie Ziegler.