And If You’re Gone Tomorrow, What Was Ours Still Will Be…

Dear Newsies,

We’ve talked about this before. You have changed my life for the better. Newsies, you have given me hope in the dark times, and have carried the banner through the trials and tribulations of a few Tony Nominations, some early morning TV shows, and so much more.

Your short Papermill Playhouse production wasn’t enough for the Fansies, and the powers at be in Disney heard the cries of fans across the country begging for more. Like Joe Pulitzer, they caved, and we won! We got a measly little 12 week run on Broadway.

But that wasn’t enough. See, like Jack Kelly, you yearned for your Santa Fe…you wanted to be produced across the country and around the world. You wanted regional and high school productions, community theatre shows. But you knew that we still needed you on Broadway, and the cast wowed audiences from around the world. Suddenly, that 12 week engagement was extended…and eventually became an open ended run.

Today is the day where it all ends. Newsies, you’re leaving us. Did we not love you enough? Were we not big enough fans? Did we not carry the banner enough?

The world needs to know. Because hearts around the world are BREAKING today. Mine included.

Newsies, I came to NYC three years ago as a volunteer. Just before you started your Papermill run. But long before that, I had fallen madly and deeply in love with you: your message, your songs (even the awful ones), your dances (oh, those thrusting hips), and your stars (who would have thought that Jack Kelly would grow up to be BATMAN???).

Newsies, even in college, I was able to connect with and grow closer to people because of you. You were a cult classic, and we loved every cheesy moment of your film. But through it all, my dream was a live musical version.

After moving clear across the country, I saw that little banner announcing a Newsies show at Papermill in New Jersey. I couldn’t believe it…my dream was coming true! And a few short months later, when I heard about the Broadway transfer, I was even happier.

By the time Newsies had gotten to Broadway, most of my NYC area friends were from my volunteer program or from my volunteer site. In fact, I didn’t even know how to work the Broadway system yet.

Newsies, you changed all that. I made so many new friends through a mutual love of you. And you continuously gave us something to believe in. You shined on Broadway.

The cast made the fansies feel like they were part of the show. They attributed the show’s existence to us…the extra performances were because of our love and passion for this epic show.

You carried the banner 8 times a week, and gave it your all each and every day, and you inspired more that just a love of your show…you inspired a love of broadway, Flamin’ Hot Cheetohs, and glasses of seltzer.

Newsies, you’re so much more than just a show. You deserved a special Tony…more than just score and choreography. Your message reminds us that we can make a difference. Your existence reminds us that we did make a difference.

Newsies, you let us know that no matter how small, we can all have a voice, and that our voices can change the world. You’ve inspired us to seize the day and change the world.

I can’t even keep writing this, because tears are streaming down my face. You’re leaving today, and its likely that you will not be back to Broadway…today is bittersweet. You’re leaving NYC, but a national tour is starting, and so many more people are going to experience how wonderful and amazing you are.

Newsies, go out, and inspire a whole new set of Fansies. Share your story and your message with the world. Carry the banner to the far corners of our country…and to the far corners of the world. I love you, and I always will.

Even though you’ll be gone tomorrow, what was ours will always be. #NewsiesForever #FansieForLife

StephanieismsSignature

PS In case you’ve missed these…here are my posts about you, including the ones with pictures of you. Here are some of my favorites:

Flashback! – Newsies #3

 

I’m going to keep sharing my Newsies flashbacks with you guys this week. I’m so excited about Friday! My six month Newsies-Versary is coming up so quickly! I can hardly believe it!!!

My third time seeing the show was April 20, 2012. It was the night before I was headed to California for a visit, and I was pretty stressed about the trip. This was the same trip where I would be giving a speech in front of a bunch of important people at my alma mater, and  I would be one of the least experienced speakers at this event. Suffice to say, I struggled writing my speech. If any one remembers my post about that, I think I spent a good couple of days listening to Watch What Happens on repeat. So of course, it got quoted in my speech, and it turned out to be a bit of a hit (much to my surprise). You can read my speech here if you’re interested in the awesomeness that comes from quoting Kara Lindsay’s Newsies song (My topic was Inclusive Community. I could have gone another way with Newsies references, and maybe one day I will. I mean think about it…”For the sake of all the children…” Yeah, that could be really good.)

Anyway, for my third time seeing the show, Alyssa won the lottery! I don’t think there were any swings or understudies on that night (My apologies if there were. I don’t have any understudy slips tucked into my Playbill from that night, and I usually save those).

 

Flashback – Newsies #2

 

 

In honor of my 6-month Anniversary of seeing Newsies on Broadway, I’m sharing some old stage door pictures, because I keep flipping through them. And they make me happy. So here we have Newsies #2 – March 30, 2012 matinee. I SROed this show with Caitlyn, a former member of my community who happened to be visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired to Tap

Like many people from my generation, I grew up watching Disney movies. I was born during the triumphant return of the Disney musical…Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. These were pretty popular when I was a kid growing up.

What wasn’t popular were the other movies I was watching. They were unknown to kids in my age group. In fact, a lot of my friend’s parents didn’t even know what these movies were. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older I’ve found more people who loved these very movies that were so unknown when I was younger.

I’m talking about the old classics. Singing in the Rain. On the Town. Anchors Aweigh. Easter Parade. Top Hat. Holiday Inn. Swing Time. These are some of the more popular ones. I loved these movies growing up. I used to secretly tap and stomp around the house thinking that I looked just as cool as Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire.

Trust me, I didn’t. And it probably sounded horrible.

I took ballet for a few years, but I never asked my parents for tap classes. I just continued to be mesmerized by the skill of these dancers and to pretend that I could do what they did.

As I get older, I still love these movies and watch them regularly. And I still am mesmerized by the incredible skill that is put on display. I love watching tap. I always have. But I never bothered to take a single class.

Watching Newsies the Musical this past spring made me ask myself why. Why haven’t I taken a tap class? I like it. I think it looks and sounds spectacular. Most of my all-time favorite movies have tap numbers in them. Many of my all-time favorite songs have tap sounds recorded into them.

So why haven’t I bothered trying to dance? I excused myself saying that I didn’t start when I was young, so there was no point in starting later in life.

Then Newsies came out with another “Meet the Newsies” video. This one was about Garett Hawe, who plays Albert and Bill in the show. Watch the video:

I watched this video over and over this summer. Garett’s words stirred something inside of me. For almost two months, I watched this video at least once a day trying to figure it out.

I began to realize that Garett’s words had stirred my desire to start dancing again. I re-watched the “Meet the Newsies – Morris Delancey” video (because Mike does some pretty amazing tap here). I could feel the desire growing. I watched a video of Brendon Stimson being interviewed by Alpha NYC, and heard him talk about how he didn’t start dancing until he was in high school. Maybe it wasn’t too late…but I couldn’t.

Then Jack Scott tweeted about Singing in the Rain, and I popped in my DVD and watched the movie. Gene Kelly really could dance! I began to wish and dream that I could truly dance. Maybe not as well as Jack, Brendon, Mike, Garett, or Gene. But what if I could?

I stayed up late that night watching videos of King of New York, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire. The next day, I re-watched the “Meet the Newsies – Albert” video a few more times.

When I was younger, I was a little overweight and even more awkward. Finding theatre and dance gave me confidence, and with that I was able to feel more comfortable with the person I was on the inside. I became a lot more active and it set me on track for a healthier lifestyle.

I spent a lot of time thinking about Garett’s words, about the Newsies, about how many of them had been inspired by Newsies the Movie, by Gene Kelly, by Fred Astaire. I thought about how much I admired them for their commitment to their fans, to their art. I made a decision:

I would be taking a tap class.

I had my first class last Monday, and I pretty much sounded the same way I did as a little three-year old stomping around the kitchen. Which might have been discouraging if I hadn’t had quite so much fun just wearing the tap shoes.

We learned the basic steps, and started practicing what my teacher called “The Anthem of Tap” or the “Shim Sham.” I’ve been practicing privately a little every day (except Tuesday because I went to go see Garett as Davey in Newsies and didn’t get home until late…but I did a couple steps in the subway to make up for it). It’s a lot of fun, and I’m really happy about my decision. I can’t wait for my class this Monday!

A HUGE thank you to Garett Hawe for getting me to think about this again, and to Brendon Stimson, Mike Faist, and Jack Scott for helping to tip the scale in favor of dance! You are all amazing and inspiring. I love watching you perform!

Garett Hawe as Davey in Newsies

 

Many people might know that this show was sort of “thrown” into my schedule. On September 7, Garett asked me when I was seeing the show next and I answered September 28th. By the time the next person asked me when I was seeing the show again, I was answering with September 18. I knew there was no way I could wait three weeks again.

I got home that night and ordered my ticket. I would sit Orchestra Left, B 05, and it would be an amazing view. I was excited, and counting down the days already.

When I got to the theatre, I was flipping through the playbill and “discovered” that one of my wishes would be coming true:

At this performance, the role of Davey will be played by Garett Hawe.

At this performance, the role of Davey will be played by Garett Hawe.

I looked over at my friend, Sydney, and told her straight up that I was going to cry during this show. I was right.

First off, all the new guys are awesome! Nicholas Lampiasi is absolutely adorable, and he and Garett really seemed like brothers. David and Jacob Guzman were great dancers and fit right in. Iain Young shocked me. He did such an amazing job. I’ve always watched the role of Henry because of Jasmine, so I was sure to pay attention to how he did in the role, and I loved it! I was very impressed, and I hope she will be too!

I miss the original Oldsies, but Tom Alan Robbins did a good job stepping in for Kevin (here’s hoping the best Teddy I’ve ever seen gets well soon! Take care of yourself!), and LaVon Fisher-Wilson plays Medda a little harsher and tougher than Capathia did, and it will take me some time to get used to that, but it was good. I look forward to seeing her performance at least a few more times!

But back to the particulars of last night…I did a really good job holding it together watching Garett’s performance. He played the role so well, and I noticed a few subtle things about his performance that I really appreciated. For example, after he first buys his papes, he did a great job copying Corey’s Jack Kelly selling strategies with slightly more obvious looks at Corey on stage than Ben usually uses. Just before the World Will Know, Garett pulled off the change of heart scene for Davey. Still, I was able to hold it together.

Watch What Happens is one of my favorite songs in the show. It’s my go to song anytime I have writer’s block or any time I need to pump myself up, and Kara did not disappoint. I loved watching her performance yet again! And I still wasn’t crying! Yes!!!

And then everything changed. Basically, once Garett started singing Seize the Day, I was a wreck. I was crying and smiling so much (Sydney said that if she didn’t know better she would have thought I was related to him in some way…I think that’s the motherly-side of me. I get that way about people I’m attached to, like Garett and Jack and Brendon and Corey and all of my students).

Garett did such a great job with Seize the Day, you couldn’t help but love his performance! And the Newsies were nailing every step of their dances and the harmonies were exquisite. It was absolutely amazing to watch, and they really did an amazing job. I seriously believe that last night might be one of my favorite performances of Seize the Day EVER! It definitely helped that Jack Scott (who was playing Albert and Bill–Garett’s track) saw me in the seats and threw BOTH of his newspapers directly at me…literally. They were line drives to me (thank goodness I played sports growing up, and was able to catch it without it bouncing into someone else’s lap!). At intermission, I had to ask my friend if she thought that it was supposed to be directly at me, or if I imagined the whole thing.

I clutched my newspaper as I tweeted and caught up on the twitter news during intermission, and then I got to talk to the lovely women sitting next to me. I’m pretty sure I was just added entertainment for them, talking about how amazing the show is and how sweet the cast members are, and I convinced them to stage door after the show!

Of course, the lights flashed and the music began, and the audience was transported back to 1899…I really love King of New York. It’s absolutely fabulous to watch the cast tap away, and they all have so much skill! I loved seeing Kara Lindsay’s timid tap as Katherine, and the Guzman brothers do the first two table solos, followed by Mike’s stunning and glorious nerve tap (it truly fascinates me to no end…I love this part of the show). My other favorite part of King of New York only happens when Garett is playing Albert, because for some reason the way he sings “Nobbin’ with all the muckety-mucks, I’m blowin’ my dough and going deluxe” while crossing to the chair, sitting down, and crossing his legs in mid-air makes me smile. I don’t even bother trying to understand it, I just accept it. It’s wonderful. Jack always does a good job when he plays that role, but that part isn’t as momentous to me when it’s not Garett.

Shortly after King of New York, another of my favorite songs is performed. The reprise of Watch What Happens is such a fun song to sing along with on the recording and it’s a little sassy at times. But there’s that one part (you know, the one all the fansies swoon over because Ben “riffs” it in the backstage rituals YouTube video and annoys Andrew to no end) that has always gotten me (because that part is the most fun to belt, too). And Garett nailed it, and I promptly burst into tears because it was perfect. Thank goodness Sydney was there with me, tossing tissues into my lap every so often.

I got it together for the rest of the show, and then Once and For All started, which is the song I ALWAYS cry during. Every time. Even when I tell myself, “Hey, Stephanie. I have a great idea: let’s not cry tonight? Maybe we can get some pictures where your eyes aren’t red and puffy!”. I can’t help it. I’m even quoted talking about it on Jonathon Mandell’s blog, New York Theater. So of course, the tears started to fall again.

After the show, I got to the stage door and waited patiently, talking to people and reveling in the emotions of the show. Jack Scott was the first one out, and when he got to me, I asked him if I could get a picture with him and the pape he threw me. He laughed and was just as happy about it as I was (well, not really…I was way happier than I can ever say). He apologized for the “line drive” and said that he had seen me in my seat and wanted to make sure I got it!

Jack Scott, Me, and the pape he tossed me. This guy is so nice, and absolutely adorable! (Also…he’s ridiculously talented!!!

Jess LeProtto was there shortly after Jack, and told me he saw me wiping tears away during the show. I guess the guys really can see the first couple of rows of the audience (hopefully, they think I’m a good audience member).

When Garett came out, he gave me a hug and thanked me for the little goodie bag I gave him. I got to congratulate him on an amazing performance, and I had him sign my ticket (which I had Brendon do back on July 2), my playbill, and the newspaper Jack threw me. Then he was sweet enough to  take a picture with me.

Garett Hawe and I! He was a star! And he’s ridiculously inspiring!

Basically, this night is way up there on my list of all-time favorite nights!