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The cast of musical Newsies definitely saved the best for last. The Tony Award-winning show will put its two-year tour to bed with a six-day engagement at Austin’s Bass Concert Hall, September 27-October 2.
Andy Richardson is especially pumped that the final tour stop will bring him back to his home state. “I could not be more excited that we’re going to Austin … getting to close it out with family and friends is just going to be the best,” says Richardson, who grew up just down the road in San Antonio. He has been with Newsies for several years, originating in the role of Romeo on Broadway and now playing Crutchie.
The Disney production ditches its usual fairytale structure and instead presents a heartfelt depiction based on real events. Inspired by the New York City newsboys strike of 1899, Newsies tells the story of how Jack Kelly — the leader of a band of charismatic orphans — leads the fight against two publishing giants.
Richardson is as enthusiastic now about being part of this high-energy show as he was when he was first cast in the world-premier production in 2011. “Even though it’s been running for such a long time, it’s still fresh every show. The choreography is ridiculous ... it’s just such an energetic show that has something for everyone.”
On this tour, Richardson doesn’t get to execute the choreography (for which Christopher Gattelli won a 2012 Tony Award), but he says he’s still inspired each night, playing a boy who doesn’t let his physical limitations dampen his spirit. “I love Crutchie so much as a character. He’s just so charming and effortlessly optimistic … it’s something I try to keep with me when the show ends.”
Richardson says the Newsies cast contains some of the highest caliber dancers around (including the 2014 winner of So You Think You Can Dance Australia) and that the choreography is tailored to the actors’ strengths and tricks, which include a number of elaborate tumbling passes. “It is a thrilling show to watch,” says Richardson. “And amid the amazing dancing and singing it’s a very moving story.”
It’s a story that will have been told through more than 780 performances in 65 cities when the tour plays its final performance in Austin on October 2. Richardson says it’s a tale that has touched audiences night after night and inspired them to dream. “It leaves a lasting impact and just hits you in your heart.”
Newsies plays Austin September 27-October 2. Tickets are on sale here.