NEWSIES CHARACTER BREAKDOWN:
(Note: The age written in breakdown is just suggested.)
Jack Kelly: Male, Age 16-20, The charismatic leader of the Manhattan newsies, isan 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 strongly loyal, Jack isn’t afraid to use his voice to attain
better conditions for the working kids of New York City. Though living on the
streets has given him a tough-guy exterior, Jack has a big heart and can
demonstrate a sweet vulnerability – especially when it comes to bantering with a
certain female reporter. Must have a great pop tenor voice and sense of physicality.
(Vocal Range Bb2-A4)
Crutchie: Male, Age 13-17, A dedicated newsie with a bum leg that’s painful, but
helps sell more papes. Though he walks with the assistance of a crutch, Crutchie doesn’t let it define him; when in a jam, Jack Kelly’s best friend relies on a goofy-sweet sense of humor and optimistic resilience. Crutchie is the heart of theresistance. Though his movement will suggest his bum leg, Crutchie should still be included in the dance numbers. (Vocal Range C3-A4)
Davey: Male, Age 15-20, 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, Davey is the brains of the resistance. (Vocal Range D3-A4)
Les: Male, Age 10-15, Davey’s cheeky younger brother, is inspired by the freedom
of the newsies and loves their independent lifestyle. A precocious and natural
newsie, Les is an intuitive salesboy and a pint-sized charmer. He should present as younger than the other newsies. (Vocal Range Db3-Bb3)
Newsies: Age 10-20, Including Albert, Buttons, Elmer, Finch, Henry, Ike, Jo Jo,
Mike, Mush, Race, Romeo, Specs, Splasher, and Tommy Boy, are some of the
hard-working kids of New York City that go on strike for a livable wage. May be
cast male or female.
Spot Conlon: Male or Female, Age 17-20, The proud leader of the Brooklyn
newsies, boasts an intimidating reputation and a short singing solo in “Brooklyn’s
Katherine Plumber: Female, Age 17-20, 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, she boldly captures the voice of a new generation rising in her coverage of the newsies’ strike. While she
generally has no time for cocky, streetwise young men, she makes an exception for Jack Kelly. Though she only has a brief dance solo in “King of New York,”
Katherine should have a great contemporary pop voice with a high belt – diction is key. (Vocal Range A3-F5)
Darcy: Male or Female, Age 15-20, The upper-class kid of a publisher who sides
with the newsies. Can double as a newsie.
Bill: Male, Age 15-25, The son of William Randolph Hearst who joins the newsies’ cause. Can double as a newsie.
Wiesel: Male, Age 35-50, Or “Weasel,” runs the distribution window for the World and knows most of the newsies by name. Assisted by the intimidating Delancey brothers, who keep order by any means necessary, Wiesel is Pulitzer’s disgruntled paper- pusher.
Oscar and Morris Delancey: Male, Age 15-20, Tough brothers who work at the distribution window for the World, take the side of the publishers in the strike and are known to use their fists to make a point.
Joseph Pulitzer: Male, 35-50, 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. (Vocal Range F4-C3)
Pulitzer’s Staff: Seitz- Male or Female, Editor, advises Pulitzer, but ultimately
admires the kids’ newspaper; Bunsen- Male or Female, Age 35-50, Pulitzer’s
bookkeeper, comes up with the ideas to raise the newsies’ price per paper;
Hannah- Female, Age 20-40, Pulitzer’s practical and insightful secretary;
Nunzio- Male, Age 30-50, Pulitzer’s barber.
Snyder: Male or Female, Age 45-65, The crooked and sinister warden of The
Refuge, a filthy and horrible orphanage, is concerned only with catching enough
kids to keep his government checks coming.
Medda Larkin: Female, Age 25-45, Inspired by vaudeville performer Aida
Overton Walker, this big-voiced saloon singer and star of the Bowery offers her
theater as a safe haven for the newsies. An astute entertainer with great comic
delivery, she’s a good friend to Jack and stands firmly behind the newsies in their
fight for justice. (Vocal Range F3-E5)
Mr. Jacobi: Male or Female, Age 35-55, Allows the newsies to congregate in his
restaurant to plan their strike – when he doesn’t have any paying customers, that is.
Governor Teddy Roosevelt: Male, Age 50-65, A well-respected lifelong public
servant, inspires Jack to stand up to Pulitzer.
Female Ensemble: Newsies, Nuns, The Bowery Beauties, Scabs, Stage Manager,
Photographer, Customers, Katherine Understudy, Medda Understudy
Male Ensemble: Newsies, Guards, Policemen, Mayor, Goons, Scabs, Jack Kelly
Understudy, Davey Understudy, Crutchie Understudy