It seems like just yesterday that Newsies was being put on at the PaperMill Playhouse, a regional production with dreams of being on Broadway. And then the show got a 16 week limited run on Broadway that turned into an open ended run, and now the show is producing tickets by the bulk, enough to have standing room only on the weekends, and be near sold out during the week. The show is known for it’s insane stagedoor and dedicated fans, and none of that has calmed down in the almost two years it’s been on Broadway.
But two years calls for many cast changes, and with most of the original Broadway cast gone or moved around, I thought it would be nice to reminisce on the talent that has jetéd across the Nederlander stage, whether that be secret talents or just good old fashioned “I want your voice” talents.
1. Andrew Keenan-Bolger: This guy is known throughout the Broadway community for having been in Mary Poppins on Broadway before originated the role of the lovable Crutchie back at PaperMill. However, there is so much more to Andrew than the wonderful singer and lovable attitude he brought to Crutchie. He’s also a director, and has two seasons of a popular web show Submissions Only under his belt. The third season is coming up soon and was even announced by the New York Times. Not too shabby! We sure miss him limping on stage, but he’s busy doing amazing things behind the camera, and who are we to argue with that?
2. Laurie Veldheer: Laurie Veldheer was a Katherine understudy that you can now see every night in Mamma Mia as Sophie herself! I personally love Laurie because she’s such a sweetheart, and is so grateful for everything she has. Every time she talks she lights up a room, a computer, however you’re hearing her talk. Unfortunately I have yet to see her perform in anything, but with understudying Katherine and now onstage eight times a week as Sophie, more people will know this girl very soon.
3. Andy Richardson: I have to talk about Andy Richardson because he is someone puts us all to shame. He understudied Crutchie before taking over the role after Andrew Keenen-Bolger left, and now plays the role full time. As if that’s not enough, he’s fluent in ASL, is a National Merit Scholar, goes to NYU full time where he’s double majoring in ASL and Theatre. This is the epitome of someone who can do everything. I have no idea how he does it, but maybe there’s a superhero costume under those Newsies clothes.
4. Hogan Fulton: This guy is another one who does it all. Hogan came on as a temporary replacement from LA last year when Tommy Bracco took out his knee. After playing Billy on the West End, the dancer from Billy Elliot filled in after Ryan Steele left, known for his incredible fouetté turns that made him a character that stuck out, Hogan stepped in like it ain’t no thang. In addition to being an incredible dancer, he also composes his own songs. Many of them are on his tumblr, where he also writes his own poetry. An artsy type — allow me to swoon now.
5. Jeremy Jordan: “Why are you including Jeremy Jordan? He originated the role of Jack Kelly!” And that is exactly why I’m including him, dear reader! The originator of Jack Kelly had an amazing 2012 season, with two shows, Bonnie and Clyde and Newsies, up for Tony Awards. He’s gone on to be in SMASH as the moody yet lovable composer, and Jamie in The Last Five Years with Anna Kendrick. He’s also been in countless concerts, and even starred in a Sondheim show A Bed and a Chair with Bernadette Peters. While he’s not on Broadway right now, we have to give this guy credit – he’s one of the actors who started it all.
Obviously everyone in this cast is incredibly talented, you have to be to be doing incredibly taxing dance moves eight times a week, but these are just five of my favorites. Feel free to add your own!