Newsical (styled "NEWSical") is a musical with music, lyrics and book written by Rick Crom. In ever-changing songs and sketches it lampoons current events, hot topics, celebrities, politicians and other well-known entities. Everyone from President Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, Nancy Grace and Oprah Winfrey to Christina Aguilera, Elena Kagan, Dr.Phill and Sarah Palin are skewered. New songs are added on a continual basis to keep up with the headlines.
The musical began with a cabaret production in 2002 before moving Off-off-Broadway in 2004. It has since been revised and produced several times.
"What in the World: The NEWSICAL Revue" began as "What in the World?!" at the now defunct Rose's Turn Piano Bar and Cabaret in Greenwich Village in New York City in November 2002 starring Eadie Scott, John Flynn, Deb Spielman and Chris Regan. It was conceived and directed by Collette Black with musical direction and arrangements by John McMahon. This production won the 2003 Nightlife Award for Best Musical Revue.
Producer Fred M. Caruso saw the show and decided to move it to an Off-off Broadway production with the same director and musical director. Newsical began previews at the John Houseman Studio on Theatre Row in New York City on January 9, 2004. The cast was Eadie Scott, John Flynn, Kelly Howe and Chris Regan. It opened officially on January 22, 2004 and ran for eight weeks at the John Houseman.
The show soon began a new run at New York City's Upstairs at Studio 54, with previews starting on September 10, 2004 and an official opening on October 7, 2004. Directed and choreographed by Donna Drake and produced by Fred M. Caruso, some of the musical's targets included Martha Stewart and AOL. The original cast included Kim Cea, Todd Alan Johnson, Stephanie Kurtzuba and Jeff Skowron. The musical closed on April 17, 2005 after 215 performances, and then began a U.S. national tour and extended engagement at the Civic Center, Denver, Colorado in 2005.
2009 and 2011 productions
The 2009 production, entitled Newsical the Musical: We distort, You Decide, featured a new cast, a new director and completely new material. The cast included Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco and Rory O’Malley. The production was directed by Mark Waldrop and began previews on November 24, 2009 in New York City at the 47th Street Theatre and officially opened on December 9, 2009 and closed March 21, 2010. The production was nominated for two 2010 Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding Revue and Outstanding Lyrics.
The 2011 production entitled "Newsical The Musical: Full Spin Ahead!" began previews on December 13, 2010 and officially opened January 9, 2011 at Theatre Row's Kirk Theatre, where it continues to run in 2012. The cast includes Christina Bianco, Christine Pedi, Michael West, Tommy Walker and John West. This production is also directed by Waldrop and is produced by Tom D'Angora and Elyse Pasquale. The piece got mixed reviews: Theatremania called it a "smart and spiffy new edition" of the show, with "comic lyrics in the same rarified league as those by Gerard Alessandrini of Forbidden Broadway fame. ... What makes the show so particularly delightful is the fresh way Crom has of attacking obvious subjects." NYTheatre.com, however, wrote: "It’s The Daily Show without the genius of Jon Stewart; Forbidden Broadway without the bite of Gerard Alessandrini ... no depth, just on-the-surface parodies and impressions of everything newsworthy from the past 12 months. Some of them are genuinely funny". The production has employed a series of "guest stars". In November 2012, Andrea McArdle was the guest star. The production was nominated for two 2011 Drama Desk Awards, for outstanding Revue and Outstanding Lyrics.
- Portantiere, Michael. "Follow Spot: Michael Musto contributes to Rick Crom's Newsical", TheaterMania, March 2005, accessed December 12, 2012
- Sommer, Elyse. "Review: What In the World: The NEWSical", Curtainup.com, January 29, 2004
- Hernendez, Ernio. "Topical Musical Comedy Newsical Begins Upstairs at Studio 54, Sept. 10", Playbill.com, September 10, 2004
- Gans, Andrew."Bianco, West, O'Malley, Griffin and Walker Will Join Pedi in Off-Broadway Return of NEWSical the Musical", playbill.com, November 10, 2009
- "Newsical the Musical With Christine Pedi Opens", Playbill.com
- Siegel, Barbara and Scott. "NEWSical the Musical", Theatermania, January 10, 2011
- Gordon, David. "Newsical The Musical". NYTheatre.com, January 7, 2011
- "Photo Flash: First Look at Andrea McArdle in Newsical!", BroadwayWorld, November 20, 2012