√ SETS √ PROPS √ COSTUMES √ BACKDROPS
Disney’s NEWSIES comes to life onstage within an atmospheric 1899 cityscape, designed by Bruce Brockman, featuring an environment of brownstone building facades framing the central playing area, and enhanced by a series of flown skyline options whose layered appearance offers a variety of perspectives.
Three large welded-steel platforms are featured throughout the show, rolling easily on air casters, with each platform able to support the weight of multiple individuals, and with all three platforms being actor-motivated for ease of operation and fluidity of scene shifts.
The central 2-story platform is rectangular, and is used specifically as Jack Kelly’s rooftop and as the Refuge, but also works in tandem with the two side units to form a bridge-like walkway across the stage. The two side towers are 3-story stairwells, constructed in the style of vintage New York fire escapes, which can play together or separately in a variety of configurations. When all three towers are parked in their upstage position, entrances and exits can be made out of the 1st and 2nd floor windows of the brownstone building facades. All of the brownstone units contain light boxes in windows (covered in vintage newspaper), providing depth and warmth to the scenery, and allowing a great variety of lighting options.
Additional scenic elements include flown hard backdrops for Pulitzer’s office and Jacobi’s Deli; a rolling metal “distribution window” with enough room inside for Wiesel and both Delancey brothers; a large flown double-door unit for entrance to The World publishing house; a flown “headline banner” blackboard with a hand-cranked scroll for revealing the various news headlines specified in the script; a flown theatrical pin rail system; and several large rolling flats for Medda’s stage settings, including a pair of lighted show portals. A hidden doorway swings out of the stage right portal to provide a setting for the stage box in Medda’s theatre, and for Katherine’s desk and typewriter.
Props include a great variety of authentic looking newspapers, in variously sized stacks; a sturdy wagon for delivering the newspapers; banners and signs for the different boroughs; a rolling cart with Jack’s painting supplies; and an authentic 1850s printing press, which has been adapted to function for the show.
Period costumes by Dixon Reynolds can outfit a large cast (75 were in the Wichita production), including all principal characters and a large array of male and female newsies, including 20 teens and 20 children. The entire package fits into two 53′ trailers, and the show’s design allows for a surprisingly swift load-in.