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THE WORLD WILL KNOW: Disney’s Newsies and the story of the rag-tag working-class lads who changed history 

THE NEWSIES strike of 1899, a pivotal moment in American labor history, was a protest led by young newspaper hawkers against unfair working conditions imposed by powerful publishing magnates.

At the forefront of this movement was a charismatic and fictional character, Jack Kelly, who became the symbol of resistance against corporate exploitation and won the backing of then New York Governor Teddy Roosevelt – who later became U.S. President- its an incredible broadway stage-adaptation of the real life story that’s on par with Oliver! and it is streaming now on Disney+. 

Teddy Roosevelt

Set in New York City at the turn of the last century and based on a true story starring Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly and John Dosset and newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer Kara Lindsay as Rebecca Plumber and Kevin Carolan as Theodore Roosevelt the story is about the ‘Newsies’ and the tale of Jack Kelly, leader of a ragged band of teenage “newsies” who dream only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when two publishing titans raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for. 

Filmed live at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA, this high-energy, not-to-be-missed version of the hit Broadway show fills the stage with more “newsies” and dancing than ever before! Contains tobacco depictions.

Jack Kelly, portrayed in various forms of media, including the popular Disney musical “Newsies,” was a composite character inspired by the real-life leaders of the Newsboys’ Strike. Kelly was depicted as a street-smart and passionate young man who rallied his fellow newsboys to challenge the oppressive policies of publishing giants Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

The strike was sparked by a decision to increase the cost of newspapers for distributors, forcing newsboys to bear the financial burden. In response, Jack Kelly, along with other newsies, organized a strike to demand better wages and fair treatment. The newsboys, many of whom were impoverished and working-class youths, demonstrated remarkable unity and resilience during the protest.

One of the strike’s defining moments was the Newsboys’ Lodging House, where Jack Kelly and his counterparts strategized and planned their resistance. The lodging house served as a makeshift headquarters for the newsies, emphasizing their camaraderie and shared sense of purpose.

The Newsies strike gained significant attention, drawing sympathy from the public and even some members of the media. The newsboys effectively utilized their own means of communication, such as distributing strike newspapers, to garner support and inform the public about their cause.

Ultimately, the strike achieved a degree of success. Pulitzer and Hearst, faced with negative publicity and a united front of determined newsboys, agreed to negotiate. The terms were not revolutionary, but the strike highlighted the power of collective action and the ability of marginalized individuals to challenge oppressive systems.

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Jack Kelly, as a fictional representation of the Newsies’ leader, continues to capture the imagination of audiences today. The musical adaptation, in particular, brought renewed interest to this historical event, blending fact and fiction to create a compelling narrative about the resilience of youth in the face of injustice.

The Newsies strike of 1899, with Jack Kelly at its symbolic helm, remains a poignant chapter in the struggle for workers’ rights. The newsboys’ courage and determination in the face of powerful adversaries serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of grassroots movements striving for a fair and just society.