Did you like Sketchy Details on Facebook yet? The 50th person to like the page gets any item they want, up to $20 in value, from the Etsy store. Exclusive content and easier commenting at the click of this link. New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel claims Newsies will be transferring to Broadway in April 2012. The show, based on the 1992 Disney film of the same name, is currently playing a limited run at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. It received enthusiastic reviews from the major NYC critics, praising the new songs by Alan Menken, the fast moving book by Harvey Fierstein, and leading man Jeremy Jordan.
While there is no official announcement yet (is there ever this early?), Riedel is right more often than he's wrong on this kind of rumor. He was the one who broke the unexpected Broadway transfer of Lysistrata Jones. He knew when Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark would be pushing back its opening night and when Julie Taymor was going to be replaced. He broke the news of a brand new book for the Broadway run of Wonderland, when most others assumed the previous production in Florida would have just been tweaked for NYC. If the show is a sure thing coming to Broadway, he seems to have the inside line.
He also suggested that The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess would not be coming to Broadway at all. He miffed that one, but to what extent? All of the major leading roles except for Porgy, Bess, and Sportin' Life have Equity casting notices out and much of the staging will change when they can (see: are forced to) design all new sets for a Broadway theater. The production transferring will most likely be very different than the one that caused all the controversy over the summer.
Newsies is getting a great response. I know a few people who are raving about the show and want to go back for a second performance.* They promise me Jeremy Jordan sounds great live and really sells the character.
There's only one snag in the Broadway transfer plan. Jeremy Jordan is already cast as the lead in Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie & Clyde, which begins performances next month. It could be that the producers of Newsies are anticipating another Wildhorn flop and will hold out as long as possible for Jordan to open the who. Not to be cynical, but even with new songs, I'm not seeing the role of Jack Kelly as something impossible to cast. He's a high tenor/leading man type. They're a dime a dozen in NYC. Plenty of shows lose their original leads for various reasons when they transfer to Broadway and turn out fine.
Regardless of who is taking on the leading role, I'm pretty sure this transfer is going to happen. Here's video of the cast's performance on The View a few weeks ago.
*Maybe one of them will repay me for all the tickets I get for them and buy me a seat so I can see it, too.