All right, so full disclosure here, folks. I am, technically speaking, a millenial. I’m sure not many would identify me as one, and given the yucky (and somewhat misplaced) stereotypes about the generation, I rarely identify myself as one. But the fact of the matter is that I am, in fact, a millenial. No, I don’t live on my mom’s couch. I didn’t get a whole bunch of participation trophies. And I certainly would never define myself as entitled. And as with many stereotypes, those traits don’t apply to the majority of millenials out there.
But enough of my millenial soapbox rant. And on to my other soapbox rant. If you follow me on social media, or are an avid reader of this blog (hey, thanks!) then you already know my standing on our current political situation. I did not vote for Trump, I think his policies are disgusting, and I have had a really hard time dealing with the people in my life who are Trump supporters. I have been in a serious funk when it comes to the state of the world since November, and it seems like every day there is something new to be depressed about.
However, with any crappy situation there comes a silver lining. This election and the resulting policies we have seen coming out of the White House so far seem to have sparked a fire in the young people of America. I know that I, along with many of my friends and peers, have become much more vocal politically in the past few months than I ever even imagined myself to be. From what I am seeing in my community, young people–many much younger than I am–are finding (and more importantly) using their voices and it has been inspiring to see.
Enter Newsies, because there are few situations in my life that I can’t directly relate to a Broadway musical. I saw the Broadway tour of Newsies when it came to LA and basically loved it. I also loved the movie it was based on (which many mills are too young to remember/appreciate). Earlier this month, Fathom Events released a filmed version of the musical in theaters, starring several members of the original cast. I saw it twice, and was even more blown away by this presentation than I was seeing the show in person. First, the OG cast members are outstanding. Jeremy Jordan is a gift from the heavens and his voice is so ridiculous it gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. “Santa Fe” was always my least favorite song in the movie, but his version of it will knock your socks off. Add to that the fact that the Tony Award winning choreography is performed absolutely brilliantly by some of the best dancers I have ever seen, and it’s no surprise I fell in love with the show.
In addition to the draw of crazy talented boys dancing and singing beautifully, Newsies has a message that is so relevant for our generation today. The movie and musical are both based on a true story of a group of kids in 1899 who went on strike to protest the price increase of newspapers–lowering their already meager profits to non-livable wages. Here was a group of kids–most of them poor, many of them orphans and/or homeless–and they made a difference by standing up for their rights and taking on a fight with some of the wealthiest men in the country. And they won. The story is an amazing example of what can happen when a group of people–even (especially) young people–come together and stand as one.
I walked out of the theater both times that I saw the film version of the musical totally inspired and hopeful. It might seem like we are in a place where a lot of us don’t have a voice and aren’t being protected by our government, but we do have the power to make changes. Allowing our voices and our concerns to be heard is not going to go unnoticed, because whether the politicians want to acknowledge it or not, young people (millenials on down) have a large percentage of the votes, and I don’t doubt that 2020 is going to be the largest turnout of young voters in history. And we can make a difference and we can make a change. Over the next four years, we can make our voices heard at protests and town hall meetings, by calling and writing our reps and by showing up to vote in local and state elections. All of these are important actions for our generation to take.
There is one more showing in theaters of Newsies, and it is happening this Saturday, March 4. I encourage everyone, young and old, to make the trip to see it. Not only is it an entertaining production, but it will hopefully leave you feeling inspired to seize the day.
Here is just one of the totally fitting for today/inspirational quotes from the show: “Now is the time to seize the day/Stare down the odds and seize the day/Once we’ve begun, if we stand as one/Some day becomes somehow”.
Keep in mind, fellow mills, our voice is important, and what we have to say matters. And what we can do can make a difference. So turn up and turn out!