Disney's Newsies JR.
Seize the Day with Disney’s rousing musical that has thrilled and inspired young people for generations.
Show Essentials
+ Ensemble

Full Synopsis

In 1899 New York City, Jack Kelly shares his dream for a better life out west with his best friend, Crutchie ("Santa Fe - Prologue"). Jack and Crutchie join the Newsies - the young boys and girls who peddle newspapers to Customers throughout the city - as they start their day ("Carrying the Banner"). They gather at the New York World's distribution wagon, where they pick up their daily stacks of papers from Wiesel and his goons, Oscar and Morris Delancey. Jack offers to show the ropes to newcomers Davey and his kid sibling Les, and together they head out into the city ("Carrying the Banner - Reprise").

Meanwhile, Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the World, vows to fight declining circulation of the newspaper. He and his staff - Bunsen, Seitz, and Hannah - cook up an idea, but at the expense of the newsies.

After completing a successful day of selling papes, Jack, Crutchie, Davey, and Les are chased suddenly by Snyder, the warden of The Refuge, until they find safety in Medda's theater. Medda Larkin welcomes Jack and his friends by offering her theater as a safe haven while they watch her perform with Ada, Olive, Ethel, and the rest of the Bowery Brigade ("Just a Pretty Face"). During the performance, Jack notices Katherine, a bright young reporter he had seen earlier that day. Jack gives his remarkable sketch of the performers to an impressed Katherine for use in her review of the show.

The next morning, the newsies are outraged to learn that Pulitzer has raised the price of newspapers. Prompted by Davey, the newsies decide to form a union and strike ("The World Will Know").

After a successful first day of striking, newly elected union leader Jack Kelly sends representatives to spread the word of their strike to newsies throughout New York City. Katherine begins writing what she hopes will be a front-page-worthy story about the strike ("Watch What Happens").

The next day, only a small group of newsies has gathered at Newsie Square to strike. Davey and Jack energize the newsies, successfully rejuvenating the movement ("Seize the Day - Parts 1 & 2"). Katherine and her photographer Darcy arrive just in time to snap a triumphant photo.

Soon after, Snyder arrives with the police to break up the strikers. They haul Crutchie away to the dreaded Refuge. A defeated Jack once again longs for a new life away from all the hardships of the city ("Santa Fe").

Bruised and battered, the newsies are about to lose hope. Fortunately, Katherine arrives with a copy of her front-page story about the strike, causing them to break out in celebration ("King of New York"). Meanwhile, unable to sleep at The Refuge, an undefeated Crutchie writes an encouraging letter to Jack ("Letter from The Refuge").

Later, Davey, Les, and Katherine find a disheartened Jack at Medda's theater and try to convince him to return to the fight. Jack heads to Pulitzer's office to alert him of the Newsies' rally but is shocked when Pulitzer reveals Katherine to be his daughter. Pulitzer offers Jack a choice: get sent to The Refuge or renounce the strike and leave New York with pockets full of cash.

The rest of the newsies from all across New York - even the intimidating Spot Conlon and the newsies of Brooklyn - gather at Medda's theater for the rally that Davey has planned ("Brooklyn's Here"). Jack arrives, having accepted Pulitzer's deal, and is booed off the stage when he encourages the newsies to call off the strike.

Katherine refuses to let Jack give up, and they sneak into the World's cellar to print a paper that exposes the unfair treatment of the newsies with the help of Dorothy and Bill ("Seize the Day - Reprise"). The kids eagerly distribute the pamphlet to inspire Working Children all over the city to join the fight ("Once and for All").

The next morning, having read the Newsies Banner, Pulitzer is furious at the newsies' attempt to thwart him. However, after a tough negotiation, Jack convinces Pulitzer to compromise with the newsies: The price increase will remain, but publishers will buy back any unsold papers. The strike is over!

The newsies rejoice as Governor Teddy Roosevelt congratulates Jack. Crutchie appears amid the celebration, followed by a handcuffed Snyder. Just as Jack is about to set out for Santa Fe, he realizes that the newsies are his family. Jack looks around at Katherine, Davey, Crutchie, and the family they have built and fought for. Together, they all head out to sell the papes ("Finale").

← Back to Disney's Newsies JR.
Cast Size: Large (21 or more performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Jack Kelly

The charismatic leader of the Manhattan newsies, is an orphaned dreamer and artist who yearns to get out of the crowded streets of New York and make a better life for himself out West. Fiercely protective of his best friend, Crutchie, and very loyal, Jack isn’t afraid to use his voice to attain better conditions for the working kids of New York City. Look for an actor who can command the stage with ease, possesses strong vocal abilities, and can exude Jack’s tough-guy exterior and his big heart.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: B3

Davey’s cheeky younger sibling, is excited by the newsies’ freedom and loves their independent lifestyle. This pint-sized charmer should present as younger than the other newsies

Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: B3

Jack’s best friend and a dedicated newsie with a “bum leg” from polio that causes pain, but helps sell more papes. Walking with the assistance of a crutch doesn’t define the ever-positive newsie, so look for an actor who can portray Casey’s goofy-sweet sense of humor and optimistic resilience. Crutchie is accustomed to modifying daily activities for their disability, so consider both the character and actor’s abilities when blocking and choreographing.

Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: A3

Les’s straight-laced, bright big brother, starts selling newspapers to help his family earn a living but becomes swept up in the fervor of the strike. A leader in his own right, who is learning to use his voice to uplift others, cast a strong actor and singer who can lead “Seize the Day” while smartly portraying the brains of the resistance.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Katherine Plumber

An ambitious young reporter, works hard to make a name for herself as a legitimate journalist in a time when women aren’t taken seriously. Quick, funny, and resourceful, Katherine should be a strong singer with excellent diction for her showstopping number, “Watch What Happens.” Because Katherine and Jack possess a strong bond, consider auditioning these roles together to get a sense of the performers’ repartee.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Medda Larkin

Inspired by the African- American vaudeville performer, Aida Overton-Walker, A big-voiced singer and star of the Bowery (see the “Dramaturgy” document in Downloadable Resources). A proud supporter of the newsies, she offers her theater as a safe haven for their revolution. Look for a performer who can portray this astute entertainer with great comic delivery, while standing firmly behind the newsies in their fight for justice.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: G3

Aka “Weasel”. A disgruntled paper-pusher who uses the Delancey brothers as his muscle, runs distribution for the World and has little patience or sympathy for the newsies. Feel free to incorporate this actor into the newsies ensemble when possible.

Gender: male
Joseph Pulitzer

A pompous businessman through and through, owns the World and is concerned solely with the bottom line. Katherine’s no-nonsense father, Pulitzer doesn’t sympathize with the strikers, but he does eventually – and grudgingly – respect Jack. For this non-singing role, cast a strong actor with a sharp and imposing presence.

Gender: male

Pulitzer’s bookkeeper who helps Pulitzer come up with the idea to raise the newsies’ price per paper.


Pulitzer’s secretary who is a clever advocate for the newsies.

Gender: female

An efficient stage manager who introduces Medda’s act.

Governor Teddy Roosevelt

A well-respected lifelong public servant who inspires Jack to stand up to Pulitzer. Cast an actor with the ability to portray the maturity and stature of this well- respected leader.

Gender: male

The crooked warden of The Refuge. A filthy and horrible juvenile reformatory, is concerned only with catching enough kids to keep their government checks coming. Look for an actor who can evoke an imposing and sinister presence.


The editor of the World who advises Pulitzer, but ultimately admires the kids’ newspaper.


Katherine’s upperclass friend whose parents own the New York Journal and help the newsies print the Newsies Banner.

Gender: male

Katherine’s upperclass friend whose parents own the New York Tribune and help the newsies print the Newsies Banner.

Gender: female

A photographer who works with Katherine.

Oscar & Morris Delancey

Toughs who work distribution for the World, take the side of the publishers in the strike and are known to use their fists to make a point. Look for actors who can believably portray these threatening goons. With a few smart and quick costuming changes, these two actors can also join the newsies ensemble if needed.

Gender: male

includes NEWSIES of New York, RACE, ALBERT, MURIEL, NANCY, SPECS, PIGTAILS, HAZEL, BUTTONS, TOMMY BOY, ROMEO, JO JO, SCABS (1-3) and others; the newsies’ CUSTOMERS; citizens of New York of all stripes, including a WOMAN; the BOWERY BRIGADE, vaudeville performers, including ADA, OLIVE, and ETHEL; and corrupt POLICE OFFICERS, including the POLICE CHIEF; WORKING CHILDREN of New York City

Full Song List
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Santa Fe (Prologue)
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Carrying the Banner
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: The World Will Know
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Just A Pretty Face
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Watch What Happens
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Seize The Day (Part 1)
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Seize The Day (Part 2)
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Santa Fe
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: King of New York
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Letter from the Refuge
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Brooklyn's Here
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Seize The Day (Reprise)
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Once and For All
Newsies Jr 2.0., Disney's: Finale


JR. Script Adaptation by David Simpatico

Based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White.


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The (Licensee)
(50% of title)
Production of
Music by
Alan Menken
Lyrics by
Jack Feldman
Book by
Harvey Fierstein
Based on the Disney Film
Written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White
Originally Produced on Broadway by
Disney Theatrical Productions
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