I’m so thrilled to be taking my family to see Disney’s Newsies soon! I grew up loving the movie version, and remember the movie as being such a high energy, empowering production – I can’t wait to witness it live!
But it occurred to me that part of what I most enjoyed when I first saw Newsies as a kid- was the dramatization of a real historic moment in United States History! And I wanted to share that historical reference with my young daughter before she went to see the production. Perhaps you have people in your life that you’d like to share it with before they see the American Tour of Disney’s Newsies, too!
1. The Musical version of Disney’s NEWSIES is based on a real life Newsboys’ Strike that took place in the year 1899. Children who sold newspapers on the streets, were called – newsies. The New York newsies really did go up against two mega powerful newspaper publishers, Joseph Pulitzer of The World, and William Randolph Hearst of The Journal, to fight for a fair price for selling newspapers.
2. During the Spanish-American War newspapers sold super easily – people were hungry for headlines! But after the war was over Newspaper publishers were making less money – as demand waned. The publishers tried to make up for that loss, by charging the young newsies more per paper. The newsies had a strike – and ultimately won! Though the Newspapers kept the higher prices they wanted – they agreed to buy back newspapers that the newsies didn’t sell. This agreement was a bigger win for them than just lowering newspaper prices. A group of kids made a real difference in history!
3. The characters in Disney’s Newsies are not based on specific characters from history, they are based on a mix of traits from real life newsies, and the writers imagination.
4. Child Labor was common during the period that Disney’s Newsies dramatizes. Although many reforms have taken place in the United States that work to protect children from child labor – it is still a very real problem especially in other areas of the world. The musical dramatizes some of that struggle. And the Fair Labor Act wasn’t even introduced in the U.S. until 1938 – many years after the newsies strike took place.
5. Although there are some great, and serious pieces of history dramatized in Disney’s Newsies – it’s a fun and celebratory show! Kids that go can be empowered by the way the young characters in the show – Seize The Day!
Disney’s Newsies American Tour – is currently playing at the Beautiful, Winspear Opera House in Dallas Texas, from April 29th – May 10th. And all over North America on tour.
For more information and Tickets – http://www.attpac.org/on-sale/2015/newsies/
I was provided tickets to Disney’s Newsies to facilitate this post, and all opinions are my own.