Newsies Character Breakdown

NOTE: Both Male and Female auditioners will be considered for most roles.

The Newsies

Jack Kelly (M) –The charismatic leader of the Manhattan newsies, is an oprhaned 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.

Crutchie –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 the resistance. Though his movement will suggest his bum leg, Crutchie should still be included in the dance numbers.

Davey (M) –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.

Les –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.

Newsies –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. 

Friends and Allies of the Newsies

Katherine Plumber (F) –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 resourcesful, she boldy 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.

Medda Larkin (F) – 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.

Spot Conlon –The proud leader of the Brooklyn newsies, boasts an intimidating reputation and a short singing solo in “Brooklyn’s Here.”

Mr. Jacobi – Allows the newsies to congregate in his restaurant to plan their strike – when he doesn’t have any paying customers, that is.

Darcy & Bill – Other publisher’s children who help Katherine break in to use the basement printing press to print the newsies’ paper.

Stage Manager –The stage manager of Medda Larkin’s club and also the MC of her show, running the backstagearea and introducing performers on stage. This performer must be able to switch from a practical, efficient stage manager personality to an energetic and entertaining ‘host of the show’ when they are ‘on stage’ at the club.

Mayor – The Mayor of New York City rebuffs Pulitzer’s attempts to shut down the newsies’ strike.

Governor Teddy Roosevelt –A well-respected lifelong public servant, inspires Jack to stand up to Pulitzer.

Pulitzer and His Staff

Joseph Pulitzer (M) –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.

Wiesel –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 –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.

Seitz –Editor, advises Pulitzer, but ultimately admires the kids’ newspaper.

Bunsen –Pulitzer’s bookkeeper, comes up with the ideas to raise the newsies’ price per paper.

Hannah –Pulitzer’s practical and insightful secretary.

Nunzio –Pulitzer’s barber.

Snyder –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.

Guard –The Guard removes the newsies from Pulitzer’s building.

Photographer – Takes the triumphant photo of the newsies at the end of “Seize the Day.”

Featured Ensembles

The Bowery Beauties –A small group of dancers who join Medda Larkin on stage. Vaudeville-style dancers, these performers must have strong, sharp dance skills, big facial expressions, and be strong singers.

Goons – Assist the Delanceys in roughing up the newsies.

Nuns –TA small group of nuns who offer free breakfast to hungry newsies. These performers must have strong singing voices and an ability to hold their melody while other performers sing counterpoint.

Scabs –Newsies from other boroughs brought in to “break” the strike. Instead, they throw down their papers and become new members of Jack Kelly’s gang.