Newsies (2023)


May 22-24, 2023 @ 7pm


July 13, 2023


July 14-16, 20-23 & 27-30, 2023

Preview, Fridays & Saturdays @ 7:30pm • Sundays @ 2:30pm


Community Players Theatre

Music and Lyrics by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman
Book by Harvey Fierstein


Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged "newsies." When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what's right!

Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of HorrorsSister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies is packed with non-stop thrills and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family and every audience.

Special Thanks

Ben Fetters
Dr. Jeanne Howard
Heartland Theater Company
Bloomington-Normal YMCA
Dakota Williams
Jacque and Jim Bethmann
Jim and Jan Irwin
Ruth Knecht
Maggie Borkholder
Amanda Padgitt
Downtown Bloomington Farmers' Market
Eryn Rask
Normal Public Library
Sylvia Smith
Rich Plotkin

Performance Dates

Understudies are scheduled to perform on:

  • Saturday, July 15
  • Sunday, July 23
  • Friday, July 28

All other show dates will be performed by the primary cast, unless otherwise announced.

Les will be performed by

Cory Gaff:

  • Thursday, July 13
  • Saturday, July 15
  • Thursday, July 20
  • Saturday, July 22
  • Friday, July 28
  • Sunday, July 30

James Dahmm:

  • Friday, July 14
  • Sunday, July 16
  • Friday, July 21
  • Sunday, July 23
  • Thursday, July 27
  • Saturday, July 29

All upcoming shows for Disney's Newsies are sold out!

We invite you to look at our website or social media for our upcoming 101st season. Season tickets and individual tickets are now available here.

We are happy to announce that in the month of August, our Box Office will also be open to the public for in-person sales each Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you soon.


Director's Note

It has been an unparalleled privilege to direct Newsies, and to tell the story of how children whose lives had been crushed by poverty risked everything to make a better life for themselves, by risking it all and striking against those who were out to exploit them.

Newsies is based on real events that happened in July of 1899 in New York City, when newspaper sales ground to a halt because of the Newsie strike. What is so profound about this strike is that it was led by and for children. As a result of the strike, Newsies were able to incur no loss to themselves when they found they had unsold newspapers. Joseph Pulitzer agreed to buy back those unsold papers. This helped the Newsies gain a more solid economic footing. This “Children’s Crusade” was one of many strikes which led to the child labor laws we know today. Newsies is a story about heroes, young people who could have been as young as six years of age who organized to make their voices heard, and paved the way to protect our most precious and valuable citizens, our children.

Dramaturgy Note

The Spanish-American war is often referred to as the first media war-it was the first war in which the press played a significant role in shaping public opinion. Through the use of sensationalized reporting and provocative (if misleading) headlines, newspapers such as the New York World and the New York Journal provided the public with detailed information from the frontlines. These attention-grabbing headlines and overdramatic retellings played a huge role in pushing public support for the United States to enter war with Spain. The owners of the of the World and the Journal, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, inspired by the increase in sales due to wartime coverage, found a way to increase their profits further by undercutting those at the very bottom of the tall tower they occupied.

In the late 1800s, New York streets were filled with the cries of newsies. Newsboys and girls could buy 100 papers for 50 cents, selling each paper for a dollar and making a nice return on their 50 cent investment. Hearst and Pulitzer decided the way to make more money was to raise the distribution price to 60 cents for 100 papers.

Newsies were young, poor, often orphaned children. They lived in dilapidated tenements where they often brought home their earnings to help feed their brother and sisters. They could be found in poorly funded lodging houses and many more lived on the streets. Selling newspapers gave them a chance to earn real money, often much more than they would earn in a factory or other work considered suitable at the time for children. They relied on headlines to sell papers and when the wartime headlines began to wane, so did newspaper sales. The price increase remained, however, and the newsies began to struggle.

Inspired by the increase in labor unions across the country, the newsies joined together to start a union of their own-they held rallies and organized across all five boroughs, New Jersey and beyond. They were joined in the support by members of the Vaudeville community, the adults who ran the standing newsstands, and even members of the press. Their strike lasted two weeks and ended with equitable change for the newsboys and inspired lasting improvements in the form of increased worker unions, labor laws and child labor restrictions.

Their story is incredible not just because they were children; it is incredible they were children; it is incredible because the divide in wealth and power between the two opposing sides was so very deep. The lyrics to Once And For All perfectly illustrates this: “This is for the kids shining shoes in the street with no shoes on their feet everyday”. The newsboys strike of 1899 was a true David & Goliath tale: no one believed a group of dirty, ragtag, street kids could take on Pulitzer and Hearst and win-but they did. They showed the world (and the World) that when humans band together–we are unstoppable.

A huge thank you to our show sponsor: The Pantagraph

And thank you to our sponsors!