Theatre News

Newsies director on show’s return: Fingers crossed for something next year

Matt Cole discussed the show’s future at the WhatsOnStage Awards

Matt Cole at the WhatsOnStage Awards, © Roy J Baron
Matt Cole at the WhatsOnStage Awards, © Roy J Baron

On 11 February, director and choreographer Matt Cole received the public-voted WhatsOnStage Award for Best Choreography for his spellbinding work on the UK premiere of Disney’s Newsies, the much-loved musical about the paper delivery strikes in the late 19th century – 125 years ago, in fact.

The show’s choreography was undoubtedly its stand-out feature, and it turns out that this was a huge factor in Cole’s drive to work on the show, as he explained to us in the winner’s room after picking up his WhatsOnStage Award: “I wanted to specifically show that there is the level of talent in this country that could dance in that way. That was the biggest driving force for me and I think we’ve proved that – compared to Broadway or the rest of the world.”

Cole also acknowledged that he “felt the pressure” of getting it right, but it turned out the community around him was a huge part of its success: “The fans were so instrumental – I’ve never seen fans that loyal. It informed how we created the show… knowing they were part of voting for this is so wonderful.”

As for the musical’s future… much has been bandied around – the West End, touring productions… Cole is keeping his lips relatively well sealed. He did tease one thing: “I’m not allowed to say but fingers crossed for something next year.”

Bring on 2025!