If you love a show based on real-life events, then don’t miss the smash-hit Newsies musical which is now playing at the Troubadour Wembley Park following a popular Broadway run. Offering a spectacular re-telling of the 1899 ‘newsies’ strike which took place in New York City, the Newsies play follows news seller and strike leader Jack Kelly as he fights for worker rights and fairer pay. But how does Jack fulfil his dream? Let’s delve deeper.
Who is Jack Kelly?
With ‘no folks anywhere’ and dreams of a better life in the West, Jack Kelly is a Manhattan newsboy and the star of Disney’s Newsies. Based on real-life newsie Kid Blink, Jack Kelly is a top seller for publications such as the New York World and New York Journal, regularly taking newbies under his wing and showing them the ropes. Having escaped from The Refuge, an orphanage kept in squalid conditions by Snyder, Jack Kelly lives an edgy lifestyle, regularly retreating to Medda’s Theatre where he meets love interest Katherine.
Jack Kelly - Strike Leader
Despite his somewhat hectic lifestyle, teenager Jack Kelly has fierce morals and is enraged to find out that publishers such as Joseph Pulitzer have raised the prices of newspaper bundles. Back in the day, news sellers would pay a set price for 100 papers. This increased from 50 cents to 60 cents during the Spanish-American war, forcing many of the child sellers into more extreme poverty. Greedy publishers refused to lower the price post war, forcing Jack to take action.
Quickly appointed ‘strike leader’, Jack rallies up newsies far and wide in a bid to cause as much disruption as possible to newspaper sales of the World and Journal. The publishers of both newspapers refused to make their prices more affordable. From stopping delivery carts to getting newsies on side, Jack proves an effective leader. He also leans on the reporting skills of budding journalist Katherine to help get the word out about what’s happening. After all, in the words of Pulitzer, if it’s not in the press, it didn’t happen.
Resilience and Determination
Despite several setbacks, fights with the police, threats from the orphanage leader and worries about driving children into danger, Jack remains resilient. After almost accepting a payoff from Pulitzer, Jack continues his plight and manages to get a pamphlet circulated around the city detailing the child exploitation. Pulitzer’s office is flooded with angry calls from all corners of the city. He’s furious but is forced to make an agreement with Jack and the other newsies - the price increase is reduced and the publishers will buy back any unsold papers. This ends the strike.
Despite his dreams of running away to Santa Fe, Jack realises that the newsies are his family and he doesn’t want to leave Katherine. He decides to stay put - for now.
Get your musical tickets today and enjoy a theatre trip to remember forever.