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July 30, 2010

In 1992, the halls of junior high and senior high schools echoed with the songs of Newsies.  Dancing the routines of Jack Kelly, Racetrack, Kid Blink and other handsome characters.   On every corner you saw them swooning under the banner, willing to pay over a penny a pape for info about the boys.  For many young girls, the Newsies may have been a ragged army without a leader, but they cherished the day when all that changed…

I was about twelve or thirteen when I was first introduced to the Disney film Newsies.  The movie was out on video by that time but the Newsies craze was still going strong, and I joined the ranks of swooning fans faster than you could say ‘penny a pape’.

I had many friends who sang the soundtrack and danced the routines alongside me.  We knew of other girls who could tell you everything there was to know about the actors too, but most of my friends were only obsessed with the movie itself.  Oh we could tell you the names of some of the actors that were in Newsies – the ones who played our favorite characters, of course – but that was about it.  (I will confess: I cut out several pictures of different Newsies characters from magazines and plastered them on my wall.  Still, I didn’t fawn over them.)

Two of my fellow fans were Rosario and our cousin, Kayte.  Those were not always easy years for our friendships, but Newsies brought us together.  If we weren’t watching the movie when we got together, we were talking about it.  We talked about this scene or that scene; we praised the actors who sang and danced the characters’ ways into our hearts; we mocked the one girl in the entire movie and who we felt couldn’t deliver a line worth her life (So what makes a headline good?); we quoted our favorite passages (I say that what you say is what I say!); we sang our favorite songs (Look at me! I’m the King of New York!); and we practiced the various dance numbers.  Our young hearts were bonded in a mutual enthusiasm for Newsies.

These days, our conversations are filled with more grown-up topics: family, faith, homes, etc., but our favorite movie finds its way in from time to time.  Almost twenty years after the movie’s debut, the three of us still grin from ear to ear when discussing our adolescent crushes on Jack Kelly, Spot Conlon, David, Mush, and the other boys.  There were a few instances over the years of scaring other family members with our Newsies fervor, the memories of which make us laugh hysterically!

It has been nearly eight years since we last sat down together to watch Newsies, until one day all that changed… and that day is today!

Rosario, Kayte and I will gather tonight for a Newsies Night.  We’ve been planning this for months and it is finally here!  Tonight, we will be reunited with our youth.  We will sing along to our favorite songs; we will dance our favorite moves (well… I’ll dance.  I don’t know about Rosario – who is still recovering from surgery – or Kayte – whose third baby is due in October – but even if they don’t dance, I won’t let that stop me!); and we’ll talk and reminisce far into the night (or as long as we can keep our eyes open which may not be all that late).

Sigh… it won’t be long now before I’ll be plopped on the couch alongside my sister and cousin, listening to the opening sequence: In 1899, the streets of New York City echoed with the voices of newsies…

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