Newsflash: Shea’s new season begins with Newsies

By Janelle Harb
Features Layout Editor

In Buffalo, we are blessed to have Broadway brought right to our front door. Our city is home to Shea’s Performing Arts Center which has been attracting national tours of shows since its remodel and expansion in the late 1970s. The previous 2014-2015 season set a record of 13,741 tickets sold, and will only continue to grow. The 2015-2016 season is no less than spectacular, as usual, with fantastic shows fresh off the Great White Way.

The season kicks off with the much anticipated Newsies running from September 29th – October 4th. This musical was inspired by the historical Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. It was during this event in which Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the famous publishers of two massive newspapers, raised the distribution price to one-tenth of a cent per paper. Outraged by this increase, the young boys and men who have to sell these papers, the “newsies,” organize a strike to give strength to the oppressed orphans and runaways who have become newsies. This musical features many classic songs such as “Santa Fe,” “Seize the Day,” and “King of New York.” This is a must-see show for fans of the Disney produced movie, or those interested in an inspiring and uplifting story of young people making a difference.

The new show is Matilda, coming right off of successful seasons on both Broadway and in the West End, and will be playing from November 3rd – November 8th. This show is based on the beloved children’s book of the same name by Roald Dahl. It is about a little girl who develops telekinetic powers, and a love for reading, who uses her power and wits to overcome an abusive family and corrupt school system. Along the way she befriends fellow schoolmates, as well as the gentle and nurturing school teacher, Miss Honey. The musical features boisterous songs such as “Naughty” and “Revolting Children.” For those of us that grew up reading Roald Dahl’s books, as well as seeing the Matilda film, this fun musical is an absolute must-see.

The next show is the iconic Annie, which is running from December 8th – December 13th. Everyone knows the treasured story of little orphan Annie with its many film adaptations and long running stage productions. The story centers around a girls orphanage who must work hard to pay their keep. Annie eventually escapes, but is caught and returned back. Along the way, Annie meets Grace Farrell, assistant to the billionaire Oliver Warbucks, who offers her a stay in his mansion and changes her life forever. The musical features other classic songs such as “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” and “Tomorrow.” This beloved show is a staple in the Broadway community, and is encouraged for everyone of all ages and backgrounds due to its touching story.

To kick off 2016, the first show is the mysterious, but highly energetic, Pippin, running from January 26th – January 31st.  The show centers around an enigmatic performance troupe that tells the story of a young prince, Pippin, who longs to have adventure in his life. Through a series of tumultuous events, Pippin must eventually decide whether he wants to continue pursuing a peaceful life, or continue performing with this peculiar troupe. This dazzling show includes popular songs such as “Magic to Do,”  “I Guess I’ll Miss the Man,” and “Morning Glow,” which was once covered by Michael Jackson. Although the show may seem incredibly lively and upbeat, there are some very dark undertones that are sure to make for a unique theatre experience.

The next show is Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, running from March 15th – March 20th. The plot tells the story of the earlier life and career of Carole King, an American singer and songwriter who is well-known for writing many chart-topping hits of the 1960s and 1970s. IT centers on her struggles in the music industry, as well as relationship with her husband, Gerry Goffin.  This jukebox musical includes many recognizable hits from King’s songbook, including “The Locomotion,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Beautiful.”  The show is still taking over both West End and Broadway stages, and is a must-see for those with a love of American music history, and some of the greatest composers and lyricists of our time.

The final show of the season is the iconic Dirty Dancing, which will be appearing from May 3rd to May 8th. The musical follows the same plot as the hit 1987 movie, which involves Frances “Baby” Houseman who finds the staff quarters at a holiday resort and unearths an exciting and intense world of music and dance. She crosses paths with the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle, and, as a result, their lives are changed forever, but with dangerous consequences. It features many of the same songs as the hit movie, including “Hungry Eyes,” “Do You Love Me?,” and “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,” amongst others to recreate the iconic 1960s soundtrack. The show has been a massive commercial success and is a story that will still be loved by generations to come.

Overall, this 2015-2016 is bound to be even more successful than last year’s record-breaking numbers. The best of Broadway is a short Metro ride away for us Canisius students, and ticket prices for most shows start around $50, there is also a lottery before each show for half price tickets. The shows are bound to surprise you, make you smile, laugh, perhaps cry, but most of all, they’ll make you want to get up onstage and sing along with the cast.

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