“Santa Feeeeeeee.” Disney’s Newsies will be taken to the stage as a musical for Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., which will open for a 2011-12 season.
The 1992 Disney film about a labor strike organized by newsboys in New York City starred an 18-year-old Christian Bale. The Fighter’s Bale sang and danced as the star Jack “Cowboy” Kelly who lead poor, orphaned newsboys to strike in 1899.
According to The New York Times, the musical will feature music by the film’s original composer, Alan Menkin, and original lyricist, Jack Feldman.
The film was directed by High School Musical’s Kenny Ortega, cost $15 million to produce and only made $3 million in theaters. Newsies was not well-received and critics were less than impressed.
Menken, who also composed music for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, won a Razzie award for Newsies.
When Newsies was preparing for its stage version, Menken said his agent told him, “‘You don’t have to get involved. They’ll take your songs, and someone else will come and write new ones. I just want to let you know.’
‘Oh, no. No, no, no. It’s my baby, no,’” Menken replied.
When his agent explained that Menken wouldn’t be making a fortune off of the production, Menken said, ”‘I don’t care. I don’t care, this is my baby.’”
Paper Mill Playhouse confirmed that Newsies will run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 16. A cast has not yet been named. A female lead has been created who will serve as Jack’s love interest.
“Newsies die-hards will also be pleased to hear that the newsboy Crutchy is staying in the story” and will have a very pivotal role, the Times reports.
In response to the musical production, Menken said, “The truth is, things have a life of their own.”