Disney’s new Broadway musical Newsies, which was recently nominated for eight Tony Awards, has sold out the Nederlander Theatre on almost every night of it’s eight-week run — which many suspect will be extended in the near future — and has already earned over $7 million at the box office. That’s almost three times as much as the $2.8 million total that the 1992 movie musical, which starred Christian Bale, took in during its release in cinemas — and something tells us it will be earning a whole lot more in the future.
Part of the show’s success is the retooled script by Harvey Fierstein, which fixes problematic aspects of the film. The original is a charming (I’ve been a fan since I was 11) and features amazing music and dancing, but has significant structural/tonal issues. (Don’t freak out superfans. Have you watched it recently?)
The stage version irons out some of the sillier plot wrinkles, eliminates repetitive strike scenes, and puts a romance between Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan) and spunky reporter Katherine (Kara Lindsay) at the center of the story. As a result, the show flows more smoothly. (Read EW’s review of the stage version here.)
Now, after much acclaim from critics and general audiences, some people are asking (okay fine, I am asking) if Disney has plans to turn the stage show back into a movie using Fierstein’s revised version as a guide. You know, a Hairspray situation, in which a movie inspires a show that then inspires another movie.
Disney isn’t currently developing any such title, but if the Mouse House decides to revisit the cult classic, original director Kenny Ortega says he wants to be involved. While talking to him for EW’s new feature about “The Cult of Newsies” (which you can read in the issue on stands now) I asked the director/choreographer if he’d ever consider working on a remake of Newsies, and this was his response:
“Heck yeah! [Laughs] Alan Menken, are you kidding? It was a wonderful group of people and I’ve had a great deal of fun with Disney on all of my High School Musicals and all of my various television projects over the years, and Newsies is near and dear to my heart, and heck yeah, it would be great to come back one day and revisit it.”
Ortega’s not the only director of Newsies anymore, though. Jeff Calhoun, the Tony-nominated director who helmed the stage version, has started feeling attached to the project, as well. “I thought Kenny did a fantastic job,” he says of the film, adding that Ortega is “one of the nicest human beings on the planet.” Still, Calhoun says (quite jovially) that if a movie ever does get made, he’d “want to work on it too!”
What say you, my fellow papes? Would you like to see Newsies get turned back into a movie one day, or are you happy with the Christian Bale version and its swanky new stage adaptation? And if it ever does head back to the big screen, should Broadway star Jeremy Jordan take on the big-screen Jack Kelly? Sound off in the comments below!
To get the whole story on how passionate fans helped turn the 20-year-old bomb into a Broadway sensation, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, which chronicles the rise of “The Cult of Newsies.”