Broadway production 2012
Newsies the Musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS
In the early hours of the morning in 1899 New York City, newsboy Jack Kelly tells his friend with a disabled leg, Crutchie, of his dream to one day leave New York for Santa Fe ("Santa Fe" (Prologue)"). Jack lives with his fellow "newsies," many of whom are orphaned and homeless. As the sun rises, the newsies awaken and prepare for another day on the job ("Carrying the Banner"). While buying their supply of papers to sell, Jack meets Davey and his little brother, Les. Unlike the rest of the newsies, Davey and Les have a home and a family. They started work as newsies because their father suffered an accident at work resulting in the termination of his employment. Seeing young Les as an opportunity to sell more papers, Jack offers to help the boys. Meanwhile, the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, increases the cost of the newspapers to the delivery boys, so as to outsell his competitors ("The Bottom Line").
Later, Jack, Davey, and Les are chased down by the corrupt Warden Snyder of The Refuge, a juvenile detention center. The boys find cover in a vaudeville-style theatre owned by Jack's friend Medda Larkin, whom he regularly paints backdrops for. Jack refuses to tell Davey why Snyder was after him. The boys then watch Medda perform ("That's Rich"). While at the show, Jack spots a young female reporter named Katherine Plumber. He attempts to flirt with her, but she brushes him off as he does a drawing of her. Jack laments his blossoming feelings for her as the show continues ("Don’t Come A-Knocking"/"I Never Planned on You"). The next morning, Jack and the newsies discover that the cost of newspapers has been raised to sixty cents per hundred. Outraged, Jack organizes a protest ("The World Will Know"). Katherine is inspired by Jack's leadership and artistic abilities, and sees the newsies' strike as an opportunity to be seen as a more serious journalist, something she struggles with because of society's view of women, and decides to cover the protest. ("Watch What Happens") The next day, Jack fails to properly motivate the Newsies, as he isn't always the best with words, but Davey steps in and rallies the newsies for a full scale strike against the New York World ("Seize the Day"). The protest is cut short when the boys are engaged in confrontations with the police and strikebreakers. During the commotion, Crutchie is beaten, apprehended, and taken to the refuge. Jack, upset at the protest's failure and the capture of Crutchie, laments the situation and promises himself that he'll soon leave New York forever ("Santa Fe (reprise)").
The next morning, Katherine visits the sulking newsies in Jacobi's Deli and cheers them up by showing them that her article about the strike made the front page of the New York Sun. Thrilled, the newsies all rejoice at making the headline and imagine what it would be like to be famous ("King of New York"). Meanwhile, Crutchie writes a letter to Jack, reflecting his experience at the Refuge ("Letter from the Refuge"). Davey, Katherine, and Les later find Jack hiding out in the basement of Medda's theatre, painting a backdrop of Santa Fe. Davey and Katherine attempt to decide their next move, but Jack refuses to put the newsies in danger again. Davey reminds him that they'll have to take risks in order to get Crutchie back. Jack eventually complies ("Watch What Happens (reprise)").
Back at the World, Pulitzer converses with Warden Snyder about Jack while Katherine listens in secret. Snyder reveals that Jack is actually an escaped criminal, originally detained for stealing food and clothing. Jack soon arrives and confronts Pulitzer. During the conversation, Pulitzer reveals that he is actually Katherine's father. Katherine, who was hiding in the room, tries to apologize to Jack for not telling him, but Jack brushes her off as he is led by Snyder into the cellar. Pulitzer offers Jack a compromise: if the strike is called off, he will be cleared of all charges and given enough money to leave for Santa Fe, but if not, he and the other newsies will be sent to the refuge ("The Bottom Line (reprise)"). Meanwhile, Spot Conlon, head of the newsies in Brooklyn, brings in his ranks in full support of Jack's protest ("Brooklyn's Here"). Jack gathers the newsies, and not wanting to put them in any more danger, reluctantly suggests they accept Pulitzer's offer. Davey and the newsies are shocked at Jack and turn their back on him. Jack later meets with Katherine once more and she tells him that despite her namesake, she was always on Jack's side. She also criticizes Jack for not being honest with her about ending up in the refuge for stealing. However, after seeing a drawing Jack made depicting the abuse conducted at the refuge, she realizes Jack stole the food and clothing for the other boys there. The two share a brief romantic moment and Katherine states that "I have something to believe in, now that I know you believed in me". Jack admits that the feeling is mutual, and they kiss ("Something to Believe In").
Jack and Katherine then join the newsies in printing their own paper; one that will determine the outcome of the strike ("Once and for All"). The newsies' paper is sent to Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who arrives in full support of the newsies' cause. Defeated, Pulitzer compromises with Jack once more. Jack proposes that Pulitzer buy back every paper the newsies fail to sell every day, thus making him seem more generous and making more boys want to sell papers for him. Pulitzer is reluctant at first, but agrees. Crutchie is freed, Snyder is arrested, the refuge is shut down, and the strike ends. Pulitzer offers Jack a job as a daily political cartoonist, which Jack initially declines. Jack prepares to say goodbye to Katherine, as he now plans to leave for Santa Fe, but Katherine says that wherever he goes she will go with him. The two share a kiss, and Jack elects to remain a newsboy and accept the cartoonist job ("Finale").
Read more: Newsies: the Musical Lyrics
Synopsis to Newsies the Musical Plot