I love taking my kids to events and sneaking peeks at their reactions when they’re in the moment. Last night at Newsies, they were all smiles and riveted attention to the stage.
My 16-year-old daughter is a big-time high school theater kid. She doesn’t act or sing, but is all about the technical and backstage work. She helps build and paint the sets, works on hair and make-up, and has been head of costumes for two major productions. She has spent countless hours at rehearsals and behind the scenes during performances, so it was especially fun to watch her react to Newsies. She absolutely loved the show, and was especially impressed with the set design. Oh, and the bevy of buff, attractive, sleeveless young men singing and dancing on stage might have been a plus for her too! She said she would see the show every day if she could.
On the other hand, my 13-year-old son is a big sports kid, so musical theatre isn’t high on his list of entertainment. He’d rather be in the stands at a game than watching a play. So it was a nice surprise to hear him praise the show at intermission, and excitedly rehash it with is sister afterward. His favorite parts were the large dance numbers, and he was also impressed with the way the show used a projector for special effects.
The songs and choreography were amazing, and the talent was impressive. Clearly, years and years of ballet, tap and acrobatic dance training paid off for these performers (and their proud parents, I’m sure). We stuck around after the show for autographs and they were very polite and gracious. Surprisingly, some began dance lessons later in life—one at the ripe old age of 15. (This was refreshing to hear, because as you DMV parents know, you feel if your kid didn’t start lessons and specialize in a sport or activity by age 3, they’ve missed the boat for good.)
We all agreed this was a great family outing, but not necessarily ideal for the littlest ones. I would recommend age 8 and up, not based on content, just interest level in the topic. Newsies is based on a group of young newspaper delivery kids striking against unfair labor practices during the Pulitzer/Hearst publishing era in the early 20th century. The acting is solid, but not stellar—this play is all about the catchy songs and amazing choreography. No wonder it won Tony Awards in both of these categories!
As far as onsite logistics go, we took advantage of reserved parking across the street in the Ronald Reagan building. You can reserve a space ahead of time which is great; go to http://thenationaldc.org/plan-your-visit/directions-parking/ for more info. If you decide to metro, Metro Center and Federal Triangle are both nearby.
For tickets, try and grab seats in the center of the theatre. We sat on the far side and missed out on a clear view of some of the action. The show does a great job utilizing the whole stage, so you want to be able to take it all in. And as with so many venues, if you’re of the female persuasion, the bathroom lines are an issue. Try and go before the show or get in line early during intermission if you can. The show runs 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission, so our 7:30 p.m. show ended right around 10 p.m.
Newsies runs through June 21 and tickets range in price from $48 to $108.
The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Meet the Reviewer!
Debbie Williams is a Northern Virginia mom and managing editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine.