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Two Minutes' Traffic: Newsies, Arena Stage

I have owned in my life three different copies of the Newsies film. One was poorly taped off the Disney Channel, but even missing the first two minutes, was a vast improvement over our previous strategy of "just watch it whenever you find out it's already playing and you missed half of it." By the mid-90s, I had an official store-bought VHS copy with an inexplicably pink back cover and every glorious minute preserved. In the early 2000s, you better believe I bought it on DVD, still carefully preserved in my apartment. But when the movie was finally adapted for the stage and I finally got to see it (twice), my heart sank.

Harvey Fierstein's adaptation made changes, many of which were harmless, some of which haunt me to this day (that's how you treat Spot Conlon, Harvey? He's the key.) But in the slickness of the transition to Broadway, some of the movie's clumsy, too on-its-sleeve heart got lost. The extended dance sequences were technically masterful but …

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