VERSAILLES — EXTRA! EXTRA! Disney’s “Newsies” to hit Versailles Stage! Read all about it, folks! Towne & Country Players, along with directors Erin McKibben and Robin Brown, are excited to bring the Broadway hit, Disney’s “Newsies” to the stage of the Versailles Performing Arts Center this July.
Inspired by the true story of the 1899 Newsboys Strike, and adapted from the 1992 movie of the same name, this fictional take on real events is a riveting story of grit, determination, and triumph over “giants” by the proverbial “underdog.” In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, newspapers were commonly published twice a day. Morning editions were typically delivered to subscribers’ doors. However, afternoon and evening editions were sold on the streets by newsboys, or “newsies.” These were mostly poor, sometimes homeless, kids who could age anywhere from five or six on up to teenagers. They would purchase papers directly from the publishers for a wholesale price of 50 cents per 100 papers and then sell them on the streets for a penny each. If they sold out they pocketed the profits they made. The downside was, whatever they didn’t, or couldn’t sell, they were stuck with and had to eat the cost. This led to newsies doing all they could to sell their papers, oftentimes working late into the night, screaming headlines on street corners, sometimes even exaggerating or making up headlines to create interest and make the sale.
During the Spanish-American War, demand for newspapers was at an all time high, with people buying all they could to get the latest news on the war. Newspaper publishers raised the wholesale cost (what the newsies had to pay) up to 60 cents per 100 papers. This extra 10 cents was a big profit to the publishers and didn’t hurt the newsies too much, as they were selling papers right and left. But after the war, demand dwindled and people weren’t buying papers at the rate they once were. Most papers dropped their wholesale price back to 50 cents, but two papers didn’t. These were the New York World and the New York Journal, published by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Herst, respectively.
This move severely hurt the young newsies and prompted them to take action. Despite their young age and lack of unionization, more than 7,000 newsies throughout the New York area came together to strike! Though there had been newsboy strikes prior to this, none had the significance nor the impact of the one in 1899. Sometimes violent, and lasting for two weeks, the strike was not taken seriously by Pulitzer and Herst at first, but soon things began to change. Circulation of Pulitzer’s World began to drop from 360,000 papers per day to only 125,000. This prompted something that had never happened with prior newsboys strikes….a compromise! (No spoilers here. Come see the show to see how it unfolds!)
Disney’s “Newsies” takes the stage of the Versailles Performing Arts Center for four performances July 13 to 15. Tickets are $15 each. New this year is a special dinner and show package. T & CP is proud to partner with Hotel Versailles to offer a special “Newsies Night Out” These tickets are $45 each and include a ticket to the show and special buffet dinner catered by Silas in the hotel’s 1819 Room. This dinner and show package will be available on all three dates and will include a shuttle to and from the show for those who are interested. More information regarding this special event will come in following weeks.
Tickets for the dinner and show packages are currently on sale with show-only tickets available beginning Saturday, June 10. Tickets can be purchased by visiting towneandcountryplayers.com or by calling 937-417-1094.