Disney’s Newsies Live – Fathom Events – Movie Review

Fathom Events, known for bringing national wide access to special events, does it again with the theatrical broadcast of Disney’s Newsies. Disney Theatrical Productions presents Disney’s Newsies based on the Disney musical film, Newsies, based on the events of the “Newsboy Strike of 1899” against publishing titans, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolf Hearst.

Release Date: February 16, 2017
Writer: Harvey Fiersten
Composer: Alan Menken and Jack Feldman
Director: Jeff Calhoun
Cast: Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fanhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger

There are two elements to address with the screening: the play and the film. Let’s start with the play. Full disclosure: I have never seen the Newsies film or the play on stage, so I’m coming in fresh with a fresh viewpoint.

The musical, Newsies, follows the lead character Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan), who is the reluctant leader and in many cases father figure to the newsboys of Brooklyn. He lives on the street with Crutchie (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) and survives with the money he earns selling newspapers to the fine people of Brooklyn. Every morning newsboys buy papers from the newspapers company at wholesale and sells them for twice the money. Newsboys keep the profits.

Concerned with the lowering readership and the increase in expense, news titan Joseph Pulitzer (Steve Blanchard) raises the wholesale price the newsies have to pay, thus making it harder for them to make a profit. Angered by the rise in price, Jack attempts to rally the newsboys to go on strike and encourage the other boroughs of New York to do the same.

Faced with the certain beatings of the paper’s strikebreakers, the uncertainty of survival without income and competition from paid scabs, Jack must find it within himself to inspire not only the boys around him but inspire himself at the same time. Jack and the boys are aided by an entertainment columnist, Katherine Plummer (Kara Lindsay) to cover the plight of the young boys. Of course, all of this is set to music and dance.

Other elements of the story include the Refuge, a juvenile detention center for delinquent boys. The living conditions are bleak with little food, sunlight and three-to-a-bed sleeping situation. The real refuge is found in a vaudeville-style theatre owned by Medda Larken (Aisha de Haas), who allows the boys to hold their first union meeting there. Then there is Davey (Ben Fankhauser) and his young brother Les, who become the providers of their family due to an on-the-job accident that disables their father. It is Davey that understands the inner working of unions and provides wise counsel to Jack.

At the end, Newsies is a fantastic, but not perfect musical. The set pieces are large and impressive. It’s tall scaffolding and projection system makes you feel like you’re on a New York set. The actors are good. Jeremy Jordon is charismatic as Jack Kelley and he makes you feel the broad range of emotions of Jack as the inspiration of the movement along with the heavyweight he bears for the safety and welfare of his crew. The choreography is fun and whimsical. I’m not much of a dance expert so I’ll end there.

The music is the highlight of Newsies. Disney Hall of Famer Alan Menken does no wrong. Often a musical greatness is a collaboration of music, lyrics, staging and acting, but the music shines above the production. Celebration, dreaming, love and determination is felt throughout the entire score. The only downfall of the music is lyrics. It is plan hard to understand what is being sung, specifically in the group number. It appears when everything sings together at the same time, you lose clarity. For example, the big opener, “Carrying the Banner” is a great song to watch. It has fantastic choreography and the music is hummable, but I could not understand a single line being sung. “King of New York” is a fantastic song with an even better hook, yet, I can hardly repeat any line from the song, except “King of New York”

It’s the quite moments that brought me back to enjoying the visual feast of Newsies, “Something to Believe In” is the love song and works to bring the Jack and Katherine together.

I walked away from Newsies feeling inspired by this post-modern turn-of-the-century David and Goliath story. It takes you back to a time, when Americans had to fight for real things, like survival.

Let’s talk about the movie. When you film a staged musical, the goal is to capture the quintessential performance of its run. Filmed in 2016, this film brought back most of the original cast from its Broadway opening night. The performances are clean and flawless and the veteran cast performs as a veteran cast should. It’s clear that the film blends footage from its live performance with a pack audience with a separate performance for close-up cameras.

Newsies Live manages to give us the feel of the stage production, especially during the big dance numbers. Although, sometimes the overuse of close-ups can pull you out of the theater and drop you in a live broadcast on television. The theater audience has the opportunity to look around the stage for the action, but then the close-up cameras force you to see what the film director wants you to see. This is just a small criticism, with what otherwise is the quintessential capture of the Broadway show.

The last small annoying thing about Newsies Live is the audience. Clearly, they are there because they are theater geeks, who are a little too over-enthusiastic about the experience. But fortunately, the performance itself is able to stand on its own and garner the admiration it deserves.

If you love big Broadway musicals, Disney musicals and a good ole feel good show, Newsies Live is worth checking out.

Wonder Woman SWAT Toys for the LARPer – Soft Weapons and Tactics

Factory Entertainment, Inc., the Concord, California-based producer of licensed toys and collectibles and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, is expanding its proprietary SWAT™ (Soft Weapons and Tactics) line of role-play/cosplay weapons with new screen-accurate renditions from the upcoming Warner Bros. Picture’s action adventure film, Wonder Woman, coming to theaters June 2, 2017.

The Wonder Woman SWAT™ sword and shield are each based on the props used in the film, and are both designed for safe role-play action. The 30-inch long sword features a dragon-themed gold hilt and Amazonian runic based script on its blade. The 18-inch diameter shield is beautifully detailed in a shimmering gold and deeply dark fabric on the front and features two straps on the back ready for cosplay action.

To further enhance these role-play ready collectibles, each Wonder Woman SWAT™ soft weapon features a series of sounds that play when swung through the air and on impact, clashing and clanging as they collide!

Available in the Spring of 2017, these items are to be sold at all popular online retailers and select brick and mortar chain stores.

Wonder Woman hits movie theaters around the world this June when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure Wonder Woman.  Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat.  Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

Patty Jenkins directs the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns & Patty Jenkins, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg, based on characters from DC.  Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston. Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Elena Anaya.

The film is produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Richard Suckle, with Rebecca Roven, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual production, Wonder Woman.  The film is scheduled for release worldwide beginning June 2, 2017, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. wonderwomanfilm.com

Crackle’s “SuperMansion” Season 2 Streaming February 16

From Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, “SuperMansion” follows the heroic misadventures of a dysfunctional yet well intentioned group of imperfect superheroes. Titanium Rex (voiced by Bryan Cranston, who’s also the series’ executive producer) and the members of the League of Freedom battle public backlash while a computer hack threatens to reveal some of their worst secrets. Starting off in a hole, the League does what they always do: get to digging. Throughout the season, heroes confront villains, invaders and even themselves as they attempt to become trusted champions of Storm City and humanity itself.

Stoopid Buddy Stoodios founders Seth Green, Eric Towner, Matt Senreich and John Harvatine IV spend their days in the studio making puppets for “SuperMansion,” playing with toys, writing crass humor and recording celeb voice-overs for this and their other shows, which include “Robot Chicken” and Netflix’s “Buddy Thunderstruck.

American Ballet Theatre Premieres ‘Whipped Cream’ at Segerstrom on March 15-19

Segerstrom Center for the Arts will present the World Premiere of American Ballet Theatre’s new production of Whipped Cream, choreographed by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, with sets and costumes by pop-surrealist Mark Ryden. ABT will give seven performances of the full-length work March 15-19, 2017 in Segerstrom Hall. Whipped Cream is based on Schlagobers, a two-act ballet with libretto and score by Richard Strauss that was first performed at the Vienna State Opera in 1924. The Pacific Symphony will perform the score live. The opening night principal cast includes: Daniil Simkin (The Boy); Stella Abrera (Princess Tea Flower); David Hallberg (Prince Coffee) and Sarah Lane (Princess Praline).

“I am particularly excited for audiences to experience Strauss’ music in this ballet, Whipped Cream. There is real craziness in this score which inspired me to approach the pop surrealist Mark Ryden,” said Ratmansky. “He is creating an incredible world that is a little scary, full of weird details and super precise. His technique is astounding, and I am matching him with my own tiny choreographic details.” A dollop of delightful whimsy, this thoroughly inventive full-length premiere tells the story of a young boy who overindulges at a Viennese pastry shop and falls into a delirium. To help him escape from his attending physician, the boy dreams of his triumphant rescue by Princess Praline and her court, replete with Princess Tea Flower, Prince Coffee as well as marching Marzipan, concluding in a festive celebration! As light as meringue, Richard Strauss’ score is the perfect inspiration for this all-new production destined to delight ballet fans of all ages.

This new production springs from the imaginations of Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky and popsurrealist visionary Mark Ryden. “I am so very intrigued by this unique story and the approach Alexei and Mark are taking,” said Kevin McKenzie, ABT Artistic Director. “The combination of fantasy and surrealism will prove something dreamlike from both of them.”

Tickets to American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream start at $29 and are now available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 5562787.

Long Beach Mardi Gras Parade Returns to Shoreline Villiage on Saturday, February 25

On Saturday, February 25th, join thousands of revelers of all ages as they once again descend on Shoreline Village, and neighboring Rainbow Harbor and Aquarium of the Pacific, for the largest annual parade event to hit the Long Beach coastline – the 2017 Long Beach Mardi Gras Parade and Festival!

Celebrated for its focus on offering a family-friendly alternative to the more traditionally risqué and adult-oriented annual tradition, Long Beach Mardi Gras has quickly become embraced as one of Long Beach’s signature annual events. Produced by Shoreline Village, with the support of partnering sponsors and vendors, Long Beach Mardi Gras offers visitors a free day of music, costumes, festivities, and more as businesses throughout Shoreline Village transform themselves to bring a taste of New Orleans to Southern California by offering Mardi Gras-themed menu items, interactive activities, drink specials – and of course, beads! Since its inception in 2009, over 15,000 participants have flooded Shoreline Village’s unique nostalgic locale to take in “Fat Tuesday” on a breezy Saturday – and this year, we’re working hard to make this our biggest event yet!

As is our annual tradition, Shoreline Village will be honoring two Long Beach individuals who we feel are strong and inspiring leaders in our community, and heralding them as King and Queen of Mardi Gras!!  This year, we are proud to honor KING BRIAN ADDISON and QUEEN JEANNINE PEARCE!

As always, participation in our Mardi Gras Parade down Rainbow Harbor is completely FREE, and businesses are welcome to represent their brand with their banners and signs!  We encourage revelers to let us know they’re coming by signing up at http://longbeachmardigras.com!

This year’s event has been sponsored by the Port of Long Beach, H&R Block, and Current Hotel. We thank our sponsors for their support!


Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club’s award for Journalist of the Year for his work at the Long Beach Post and Longbeachzine, Brian Addison’s name has become synonymous with impactful journalism in Long Beach. After serving as editor of Long Beach Post from 2011 – 2014, Brian served as Communications Manager for Downtown Long Beach Associates, and ultimately launched his own marketing company, Addison Communications, this past December. A vocal lover of all things Long Beach, and dedicated volunteer with organizations that address issues ranging from human rights, arts and culture, HIV/AIDS services, and economic development, Brian has received Recognition from Mayor Robert Garcia and Senator Ricardo Lara for his many contributions to his beloved community of Long Beach.


A CSULB alumna, Jeannine Pearce took her passions for civic duty and social activism all the way to her current position as Long Beach City Councilor for the 2nd District. Jeannine has served as Public Policy Director of the Los Angeles for a New Economy (LAANE), where she campaigned in the front line to ensure the rights of hotel workers; Steering Committee Member of both Building Healthy Communities Long Beach and Housing Long Beach; and co-founded the LGBTQ-Labor Alliance, along with Long Beach’s Porter Gilberg and Gerrie Schipski, and famed civil rights activist Cleve Jones. Jeannine has received several Recognitions, including Steward of the Second District (2015), the Go Long Beach Award (2014), the Women’s Democratic Study Club’s Betty Karnette Community Activist Award (2013), and Long Beach Post’s “40 Under 40” (2013). In June of 2016, Jeannine was a candidate in one of Long Beach’s tightest and most fiery City Council races – and emerged victoriously, currently serving our community in City Hall.

Comfort Movie Comes to Home Video This Valentine’s Day

William Lu’s Comfort was one of the shining stars of the 2016 Los Angeles Pacific Film Festival and now your chance to see it is coming this Valentine’s Day. Go to ComfortMovie.com for purchasing details.

The Geek Lab and KTST fm not only had the chance to seek this fun romantic comedy at the Film Festival, but had the privilege to speak with the stars Chris Dihn and Julie Zahn and the Director William Lu.

This is a link to our review: Geek Lab Review

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy #1 on Amazon

Ben Browder’s contemporary grindhouse gem, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, starring Sean Astin, Gina Gershon, Drake Bell, and Sammi Hanratty is the #1 Featured Movie on Amazon.

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, Ben Browder’s grindhouse gem, is already the #1 featured movie on Amazon.  Movie Pilot calls it the top 10 most anticipated teen movies of 2017 and Latin Post reaffirms it as one of the top 5 young adult movies to be excited about in 2017. Watch it now on Amazon and see for yourself why it has a 99% Audience Score onRotten Tomatoes.

Good Kids/Bad Kids is an entertainment development company. The team leverages its members’ experience in the creative, business, and legal fields for the past 20 years to bring marketable trans-media brands to retail. Whether it is under the kid/family friendly brand “Good Kids,” or the harder/edgier brand “Bad Kids,” Good Kids/Bad Kids provides services to individuals and companies looking to explore opportunities in commercials, television, movies, video games, and more. Good Kids/Bad Kids “takes the good with the bad.” For more information on Good Kids/Bad Kids, visit www.goodandbadkids.com. For more information on Bad Kids of Crestview Academy visit the official website at www.crestview-academy.com.

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