Fans respond as Andrew Keenan-Bolger departs ‘Newsies’, plans for world premiere of ‘Tuck Everlasting’

Credit: StageDoorDish.com

Credit: StageDoorDish.com

The cast of Newsies will be lacking some sunshine after Andrew Keenan-Bolger plays his final performance as Crutchie today.

Andrew originated the role of Crutchie at the Papermill Playhouse from September 25, 2011 through October 16 before the show made its way to the Nederlander Theatre for what was originally scheduled as a limited engagement on March 15, 2012.

Andrew isn’t the first member of the original Newsies cast to depart, notably Jeremy Jordan left in September for the NBC series Smash and Ryan Steele recently departed in January to perform in Matilda The Musical, and thankfully fans won’t have to wait very long to see him back on Broadway.

It was announced in late January that Andrew will be starring in the new musical Tuck Everlasting during the show’s pre-Broadway world premiere in Boston starting July 28 to August 18.

Tuck Everlasting is a whimsical story of a young girl named Winnie Foster and her friendship with Jesse Tuck and his family who became immortal after drinking from an enchanted spring. The story, based on the 1975 children’s novel written by Natalie Babbitt, was adapted for the screen in 1981 and 2002.

But even with the building excitement of Tuck Everlasting, one of the stories I remember enjoying most as a child, it’s difficult to see Andrew leave Newsies.

He’s not the first to leave the cast, and he won’t be the last, but Andrew’s is the first final performance I really wish I could have attended.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger is one of the most talented, humble, hilarious and kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Over the past month, I have become even more endeared to him (and his family) which I didn’t think was possible. Their generosity and support means the world to me and I only wish I was at the Nederlander Theatre to cheer loudly for Andrew as he performs for the last time.

As Andrew moves from originating one Broadway role to the next, I send my thoughts and love to the Nederlander. No one is more deserving of all the success and happiness Andrew has achieved and I can’t wait to see what comes next for him.

While I was writing this editorial, I made a post explaining how difficult it is to write about someone I love, respect and admire so much. Within minutes, I had a reply from a fan in the form of a letter to Andrew. Instead of wondering where the wires got crossed, it sparked an idea to let any fans interested submit a letter, note or well-wish for Andrew. 

I often make the joke that “no one knows how much I love the Keenan-Bolgers, except the Keenan-Bolgers” but it’s nice to know I am in good company. Andrew is truly one of the most special and wonderful guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I wish him nothing but the very best and all the happiness in the world because he deserves it. 

The replies and notes from Andrew’s fans are below. 

Credit: StageDoorDish.com

Credit: StageDoorDish.com

Andrew,

I’ve written to you a few times before, both on twitter and through postal mail (which definitely contained a huge box full of Flaming Hot Cheetos). I’m writing to you this time because I wanted to say once more how talented I think you are and how much I and all the fansies are going to miss you in Newsies.

You are truly an amazing person. I can’t just limit it to a performer because I also think you’re a great writer/producer/director. Submissions Only is brilliant and I enjoyed The Battery’s Down when it was on. Of course you are an outstanding performer as evidenced by the awards you’ve been nominated for and won. I’m so happy that while you have been busy with Newsies these past 2 years and the start-up of Season 3 of Submissions Only, you still had time to make great videos for your YouTube subscribers (I’ve been watching Andrew’s Blog for years).

What I love most about the Broadway production of Newsies is the new relationship/dynamic between Jack and Crutchie. It is much deeper and more defined than the movie version and I believe it is due to the writing of Harvey Fierstein and the performances of both you and Jeremy Jordan/Corey Cott. I have seen Newsies now 5 times, and lucky for me you have always been there. I know I will probably see it more times in the future, but it just won’t feel the same without you as Crutchie.

I also have to credit you for bringing the Broadway community closer together through your revival of #sip’s. I look forward to Saturdays because I know I’m going to be treated to an awesome shot of you and Ben. You guys are hilarious and so creative in your pictures. Your dressing room must be crazy fun.

Lastly I want to say that I admire you for your relationship and the love you have for your family. You are all so close and incredible talented it is so cool to watch you guys talk about each other. I saw Celia in Peter and the Starcatcher back in April and again in September and I got to talk to her after and thank her for the amazing performance she gave. I also told her how amazing you were and you could see how happy she was.

So I’ll wrap this up by saying thank you. Thank you for bringing your amazing presence to the Broadway stage eight times a week. The Newsies community will miss you but I wish you the best of luck in Boston and hopefully we will see you on Broadway again soon!!

Jillian G.

Dear Andrew,

Congratulations on finishing an amazing run as Crutchie in Newsies! I’m sad that you are leaving the production but I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to travel to New York and see you in the show last month! Everything about Newsies was phenomenal and after being obsessed with the show for nearly a year and finally being able to see it, I felt like the happiest girl in the world.

My love for Newsies the Musical started from watching your video blogs. Newsies has become a large part of my life this past year and the powerful and positive energy of the show helped me get through some troubled times. I would have never been the person I am today if I was not introduced to the amazing production and the cast.

Thank you so much for giving me a shout-out in the “Newsies Love Their Fansies” video! That video was published a day after my birthday so I consider it as my birthday gift from Newsies :) I still can’t believe that you remembered my name when I met you at the stage door in February!  I was so surprised and honored, it was definitely one of the greatest moments and highlights of my trip to the US.

I will be studying musical theatre at a university in the states from this fall (I was in NYC for unifieds) and I hope I get to see you perform live again! You are one of the sweetest and kindest people I had the pleasure of meeting and I really hope I can be an inspirational performer like you someday.  I can’t wait to watch season 3 of Submissions Only and some more of your fabulous video blogs in the future! Good luck in Tuck Everlasting and please do not stop being the amazing person that you are.

Resa M.

crutchie

Andrew preparing to play Crutchie.

I look up to you so much. You’re an amazing performer, and I love watching your videos on your channel but also the other Newsies ones too. I idolize you for dealing with Ben’s loud warm ups 😉 I’m sad you won’t be performing when I go see Newsies next month, but am glad you got to experience something that amazing. You’re my all time favorite, and maybe one day we will meet a you will tell me your broadway secrets. Thanks for the inspiration. One of your Fansies, Callaghan Carter

I had the absolute honor of seeing you in Newsies on 3/8/12, and you made the show complete for me. I loved everything about the show, but you were truly one of the few of an amazing cast that stuck out as being practically perfect. I think you’re awesome and hilarious and basically, super, super cool. I’m sad you’re leaving Newsies but endlessly excited for Tuck Everlasting. I’m sure it’ll be incredible. Much love. – LW

You are so multi-talented that it’s almost crazy. Your charm and creativity are evident in anything you do be it Newsies, #SIP, Andrew’s Blog, or more. You’re definitely one of my favorite people in the musical theatre community and i know that you will own it as Jesse in Tuck Everlasting. Do your thang, AKB! Okrrrrrrr?! -Marc F.

Thank you for teaching me to enjoy every day, every project and every challenge life hands me. I am proud to be among the many aspiring actors who have been inspired by your talent and enthusiasm for everything you do. Although I never had the chance to see you in Newsies, I feel like through your videos, I was given the chance to get to know one of the most talented casts I’ve ever seen. Thank you Andrew and Happy Trails :) x Izzy P.

You’re amazing! It’ll be sad not seeing your smiling face with the Newsies cast but can’t wait to see what you’ll be in next:D So congrats and thank you for making Newsies an absolute joy to watch! -Rai S

This is going to be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to write. It breaks my heart to see you leave Newsies, but all good things must come to an end, right? It was amazing seeing you in the show and meeting you, for it was hands down, one of the best nights of my life. You’re so incredibly talented; I hope and pray Tuck will make its way to New York so I won’t have to travel a couple hours up to Boston to see you in it! Wishing you all the best for the future and hoping that Newsies won’t be the last production I’ll be able to see you in. Take care! -Alexa Reyes

I only recently became a fansie (within the past two weeks) but you’ve really made the character of Crutchie come alive for me, and I know that your face will always be Crutchie for me. I’m sad that I never got to see you play Crutchie, but I also know that you’re going to be amazing in Tuck Everlasting and that you are going to be amazing in all of our future endeavors, on stage and off. Thank you for bringing Crutchie to life, Andrew. It truly means the world to me. Ali M.

I saw Newsies last June and it changed my life, not just because it was the night Neil Patrick Harris was in the house, but because I finally got to watch you perform in person. You’re one of the cutest, most talented stars on Broadway and I’m so lucky to have touched your hand when you signed my program. Also, my mom has the hugest crush on you, and is trying to get my brother to be like you and Celia (we both perform, and we both know it’s an unattainable goal but we try anyway). Congrats on a fantastic Newsies run and I pray I’ll get to see you again. Xoxox, Midge Z.

I had the pleasure of seeing you in Newsies last year, and it was one of the greatest theatre experiences that I’ve ever had. I wanted to wish you luck and thank you for the memories that I will always cherish. Although it’s sad for Broadway fans to see you go, we can’t wait to watch you succeed even further in your career. You are a true talent and your performance as Crutchie will live on in the hearts of Fansies forever. Happy trails! Jaclyn K.

If you were unable to participate and have something to say for Andrew, or if you just want to talk about how incredible he was in Newsies and how great Tuck Everlasting will be, leave a comment!

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About Samantha S.

"I found the theatre and I found my home.” ― Audra McDonald
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One Response

  1. Ahh! I can’t believe I missed this! But here’s a little message for you, Andrew, anyway–

    I’d been really addicted to your blogs when I was, like 13. It was weird. But that was kind of a while ago, and I didn’t get to see you perform in person until last December. And, WOW, that was incredible. I’d had a lot of big disappointments leading up to that night, but it was all worth the pain once I knew for sure you’d be in Newsies that night (I went to see Once the night before–both Steve and Cristin were out. Ugh). I can’t even begin to explain how surreal it felt to actually be seeing Newsies. Like, I get chills just thinking about it. There were parts of the show that I’ve since forgotten a bit, but something that stuck in my mind for weeks afterward was just how freaking HAPPY you all looked. It was so moving in such an indescribable way, and I can’t thank you enough for being so smiley and happy, both onstage and later at the stagedoor. It was incredible to be able to see one of my theatrical heroes live in a role that made them so so so happy.

    I don’t know what to say other than thanks for the fun, and happy trails to you!!