NEW YORK, N.Y. – The boys from “Newsies” now have one more thing to dance about — they’ve made their money back.
Disney Theatrical Productions said Thursday that the musical recouped its $5 million investment in just over nine months — faster than any other Disney stage property.
The profitability of “Newsies” adds to Disney’s high success rate on Broadway. The entertainment giant has had now five hits — including “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins” — from seven Broadway shows it has produced, way above the 3-in-10 average recoupment of most Broadway shows.
“Newsies” is based on the 1899 true story of child newspaper sellers in turn-of-the-century New York who go on strike. A 1992 film, starring Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall and Ann-Margret, did poorly at the box office but has become something of a cult hit.
Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, who were responsible for the film score, teamed up again to transform “Newsies” into a musical for the stage, reworking the songs and collaborating with the new story writer, Harvey Fierstein, known for his work in “Hairspray,” ”La Cage aux folles” and “Torch Song Trilogy.”
The new musical retains the memorable songs “Santa Fe,” ”The World Will Know,” ”Carrying the Banner,” ”Seize the Day” and “King of New York,” but adds a young female reporter to the story and plenty of muscular, high-impact dancing.
The show had a critically acclaimed debut in September 2011 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., and opened on Broadway in March at the the Nederlander Theatre, where it won Tony Awards for best score and choreography.
So far, nearly 400,000 people have seen the show in its 41 weeks of performances and it has regularly been among the top earning shows each week.